Duke Divinity School

Duke Divinity School Gray Building

The Divinity School at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, is one of ten graduate or professional schools within Duke University. It is also one of thirteen seminaries founded and supported by the United Methodist Church. It has 39 regular rank faculty and 15 joint, secondary or adjunct faculty, and, as of 2017, an enrollment of 543 Full-time equivalent students. The current dean of the Divinity School is the Rev. Dr. L. Gregory Jones, who assumed the deanship on Aug. 2, 2018 after previously serving as dean from 1997-2010. Former deans include the prominent New Testament scholar Richard B. Hays, who stepped down in 2015.


The Divinity School was founded in 1926 as the first graduate school at Duke,[1] following a large endowment by James B. Duke, a tobacco magnate, in 1924. The Divinity School carries on from the original founding of Trinity College in 1859, which provided free training for Methodist preachers in exchange for support from the church. Though the school is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, it is also ecumenical in outlook and has both faculty and students from a variety of denominations.

The Divinity School consists of three buildings - the original Gray Building, the Langford Building, and the Westbrook Building. The most recent building is the Hugh A. Westbrook Building, which opened in 2005 and is 53,000 square feet (4,900 m2). It also contains the 315-seat Bishop W. Kenneth Goodson Chapel with 55-foot (17 m)-high ceilings, office space, a bookstore, cafe, outdoor patio, and a 177-seat lecture hall.

The school is perhaps most noted in American theological circles for serving as a fountainhead of postliberalism or narrative theology, a movement originating in the 1960s and 1970s at Yale Divinity School. This is thanks in part to the presence of Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, often considered one of the leading exponents of postliberal and narrative approaches to theology. Time Magazine named Hauerwas "America's Best Theologian" in 2001.[2]

Duke Divinity also benefits from the resources of The Duke Endowment, providing an outlet for this fund's support of higher education and the rural church in North Carolina. Resources from the Charlotte, N.C.-based endowment go to underwrite Divinity School programs for field education, continuing education, the Thriving Rural Communities Initiative, and Hispanic Ministries. The Divinity School also receives support from the Ministerial Education Fund of the United Methodist Church for student financial aid, faculty support, and other core mission programs of the school.

Notable facultyEdit

The exterior of Goodson Chapel, the worship space at Duke Divinity School.
  • Jeremy Begbie, Thomas A. Langford Distinguished Professor of Theology and director of the Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts
  • Ellen F. Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology
  • Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law
  • Richard B. Hays, Former dean and George Washington Ivey Professor Emeritus of New Testament
  • L. Gregory Jones, Dean of the Divinity School as well as Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Jr. Distinguished Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry (also a Duke University alumnus)
  • Richard Alan Lischer, James T. and Alice Mead Cleland Professor Emeritus of Preaching
  • C. Kavin Rowe, Professor of New Testament
  • Timothy Tyson, Former Visiting Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture
  • Geoffrey Wainwright, Robert Earl Cushman Professor Emeritus of Christian Theology
  • Samuel Wells, research professor of Christian ethics at Duke Divinity School from 2005 to 2012
  • Lauren Winner, Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality
  • William Willimon, Professor of Practice of Christian Ministry as well as former United Methodist Church bishop
  • Norman Wirzba, Gilbert T. Rowe Distinguished Professor of Christian Theology as well as Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University

Notable alumniEdit

The interior of Goodson Chapel


  1. ^ "The Founding of Duke Divinity School | David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library". library.duke.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
  2. ^ Elshtain, Jean Bethke. CNN/Time - America's Best. Time. Retrieved on May 30, 2007. Archived May 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 36°00′07″N 78°56′23″W / 36.0020°N 78.9398°W / 36.0020; -78.9398