|Dean||Gregory E. Sterling|
Congregationalist theological education was the motivation at the founding of Yale, and the professional school has its roots in a Theological Department established in 1822. The school had maintained its own campus, faculty, and degree program since 1869, and it has become more ecumenical beginning in the mid-19th century. Since the 1970s, it has been affiliated with the Episcopal Berkeley Divinity School and has housed the Institute of Sacred Music, which offers separate degree programs. In July 2017, a two-year process of formal affiliation was completed, with the addition of Andover Newton Seminary joining the school. Over 40 different denominations are represented at YDS.
Theological education was the earliest academic purpose of Yale University. When Yale College was founded in 1701, it was as a college of religious training for Congregationalist ministers in Connecticut Colony, designated in its charter as a school "wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts & Sciences who through the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church & Civil State." A professorship of divinity was established in 1746. In 1817, the occupant of the divinity chair, Eleazar Thompson Fitch, supported a student request to endow a theological curriculum, and five years later a separate Yale Theological Seminary was founded by the Yale Corporation. In the same motion, Second Great Awakening theologian Nathaniel William Taylor was appointed to become the first Dwight Professor of Didactic Theology. Taylor was considered the "central figure" in the school's founding, and he was joined in 1826 by Josiah Willard Gibbs, Sr., a scholar of sacred languages and lexicographer Chauncey A. Goodrich in 1839. A dedicated student dormitory, Divinity College, was completed on the college's Old Campus in 1836, but the department had no permanent classrooms or offices until several years after the end of the American Civil War.
After a significant period of enrollment decline, the school began fundraising from alumni for new faculty and facilities. Divinity Hall was constructed on the present-day site of Grace Hopper College between 1869 and 1871, featuring two classroom wings and a chapel. Around the time of the new campus' construction came the arrival of new faculty, including James M. Hoppin, George Edward Day, George Park Fisher, and Leonard Bacon. The first Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) was conferred in 1867, and the department became a separate School of Divinity in 1869. The school remained across from Old Campus until 1929, when a new campus was constructed on the northern edge of the university campus, at the top of Prospect Hill.
Berkeley Divinity School affiliated with Yale Divinity School in 1971, and in the same year the university replaced the B.D. with a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program. While Berkeley retains its Episcopal Church connection, its students are admitted by and fully enrolled as members of Yale Divinity School. The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, a division of the Divinity School, maintains a large collection of primary source materials about Jonathan Edwards, a 1720 Yale alumnus. The Yale Institute of Sacred Music (ISM) is jointly-affiliated with the Divinity School and School of Music. It offers programs in choral conducting, organ performance, voice, and church music studies, and in liturgical studies and religion and the arts.
In May 2016, Andover Newton Theological School president Martin Copenhaver announced that Andover Newton would begin a process of formal affiliation with the Divinity School over the next two years. In the 2016–17 academic year, a cohort of faculty relocated to New Haven teaching students and launching pilot initiatives focused on congregational ministry education, while Andover Newton continued to operate in Massachusetts over the next two years. In July 2017, a formal affiliation was signed, resulting in smaller Andover Newton functioning as a unit within Yale Divinity School, similar to its arrangement with Berkeley.
In October 2020, YDS received a $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment as part of the foundation's Thriving Congregations Initiative to fund a program entitled, "Reimagining Church: New Models for the 21st Century." Reimagining Church will involve 40 congregations in Connecticut as well as YDS students, faculty, and staff over a five-year period.
In November 2020, the Yale Divinity School Women's Center revived the publication of The Voice Journal of Literary and Theological Ideas, a feminist journal that initially ran from 1996 to 2002.
Yale Divinity School is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and approved by ATS to grant the following degrees:
- Hebrew Bible
- Second Temple Judaism
- New Testament
- Philosophical Theology
- Practical Theology
- History of Christianity
- World Christianity/Missions
- Liturgical Studies
- Religion & the Arts
- Asian Religions
- Black Religion in the African Diaspora
- Latinx & Latin American Christianity
- Religion & Ecology
- Women’s/Gender/Sexuality Studies
Students in any degree program at Yale Divinity School can also earn certificates in any of the following areas:
- Lutheran Studies
- Reformed Studies
- Anglican Studies
- Catholic Lay Ministerial Studies
- United Methodist Studies
- Black Church Studies
- Andover Newton Seminary (non-degree diploma)
- Educational Leadership and Ministry
Gregory Sterling, a New Testament scholar and Church of Christ pastor, has been the dean of the divinity school since 2012, succeeding New Testament scholar Harold W. Attridge, who returned to teaching as a Sterling Professor upon completing two five-year terms as dean. The leaders of the affiliated seminaries are Andrew McGowan, Dean and President of Berkeley Divinity School, and Sarah Drummond, Founding Dean of Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School. Organist Martin Jean is director of the Institute of Sacred Music.
Deans of Yale Divinity School
|Name||Years Served||Academic Field||Denomination|
|Gregory E. Sterling||2012–Present||New Testament||Churches of Christ|
|Harold W. Attridge||2002-2012||New Testament||Catholic|
|Harry B. Adams (acting dean)||2000-2001||Pastoral Theology|
|Richard J. Wood||1996-2000||Philosophy||Quaker|
|Aidan Kavanagh (acting dean)||1989-1990||Liturgics||Catholic|
|Leander Keck||1979-1989||New Testament||Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)|
|Colin W. Williams||1969-1979||Ethics||Methodist|
|Robert Clyde Johnson||1963-1969||Presbyterian|
|Charles Forman (acting dean)||1961-1963|
|Luther Allan Weigle||1928-1949||Christian Education||Lutheran/Congregationalist|
|Charles Reynolds Brown||1911-1928||Theology||Congregationalist|
|Edward Lewis Curtis (acting dean)||1905-1911|
|Frank Knight Sanders||1901-1905||Semitics||Congregationalist|
|George Park Fisher||1895-1901||Church History||Congregationalist|
|George Edward Day||1888-1895||Hebrew||Congregationalist|
When the department was organized as a school in 1869, it was moved to a campus across from the northwest corner of the New Haven Green composed of East Divinity Hall (1869), Marquand Chapel (1871), West Divinity Hall (1871), and the Trowbridge Library (1881). The buildings, designed by Richard Morris Hunt, were demolished under the residential college plan and replaced by Calhoun College, now known as Grace Hopper College.
In 1929, the trustees of the estate of lawyer John William Sterling agreed that a portion of his bequest to Yale would be used to build a new campus for the Divinity School. The Sterling Divinity Quadrangle, completed in 1932, is a Georgian-style complex built at the top of Prospect Hill. It was designed by Delano & Aldrich and modeled in part on the University of Virginia.
A $49-million renovation of Sterling Divinity Quadrangle was completed in 2003. Sterling Divinity Quadrangle contains academic buildings, Marquand Chapel, and graduate student housing for YDS students.
Yale Divinity School is currently planning the construction of the Living Village, a zero-waste, sustainable living community that will house 155 YDS students.
- Diogenes Allen (B.D. 1959)
- Ian Barbour (B.D. 1956)
- Kate Bowler (M.A.R. 2005)
- Gregory A. Boyd (M.Div. 1982)
- Will D. Campbell (B.D. 1952)
- Orishatukeh Faduma (B.D. 1894, graduate study 1895)
- William Ragsdale Cannon (B.D. 1940; Ph.D. 1942), Professor and Dean, Candler School of Theology; Bishop of the United Methodist Church.
- Donald Eric Capps, (B.D. 1963; S.T.M., 1965), scholar of Pastoral Theology
- Roy Clyde Clark, (B.D. 1944), Bishop of the United Methodist Church
- William Sloane Coffin (B.D. 1956)
- Chris Coons (Master's degree in ethics, 1992), United States Senator from Delaware
- Harvey Cox (B.D. 1955), theologian and Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School (1965–2009)
- Zebulon Crocker
- Raymond Culver, (B.D. 1920), president of Shimer College
- Michael Curry (M.Div. 1978), Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (United States)
- John Danforth (M.Div. 1963), former United States Senator from Missouri
- Walter Fauntroy, (B.D. 1958), Founding Member - Congressional Black Caucus
- David F. Ford (S.T.M.), Regius Professor of Divinity Emeritus at the University of Cambridge
- Milton Gaither (M.A.R. 1996), historian of American education
- Paul Vernon Galloway, a Bishop of The Methodist Church
- Tom Vaughn (Doctorate in theology), jazz musician and Episcopal priest
- Leroy Gilbert (S.T.M. 1979)
- Gary Hart (B.D. 1961)
- Stanley Hauerwas (B.D. 1965)
- Richard B. Hays (M.Div. 1977)
- Serene Jones (M.Div. 1985) President of Union Theological Seminary (New_York_City)
- Rena Karefa-Smart (B.D. 1945), first Black woman graduate of Yale Divinity
- Sen Katayama
- Ernest W. Lefever (1945), foreign affairs expert and founder of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
- Sallie McFague (B.D. 1959)
- Candida Moss (M.A.R. 2002)
- Otis Moss III (M.Div. 1995), Pastor of Trinity Church, Chicago
- Reinhold Niebuhr (B.D. 1914, M.A. 1915), Protestant theologian and public intellectual
- Richard T. Nolan (M.A. 1967)
- Douglas Oldenburg (S.T.M. 1961), President Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary, Presbyterian (USA) pastor.
- Julie Faith Parker
- William H. Poteat (B.D. 1944)
- Clark V. Poling (1936)
- Peter L. Pond, human rights activist and philanthropist.
- Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. (attended 1895–1896)
- George Rupp
- Father V.C. Samuel (PhD. 1957) Indian Christian Theologian and Historian.
- Ron Sider
- John Silber
- John Shelby Spong
- Amos Alonzo Stagg
- Rufus W. Stimson (B.D., 1897), Professor of English and President of the University of Connecticut
- Barbara Brown Taylor (M.Div. 1976)
- Roy M. Terry (B.D. 1942)
- Krista Tippett (M.Div. 1994)
- R. A. Torrey (B.D. 1878)
- John W. Traphagan (M.A.R. 1986), professor of Religious Studies and Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin
- Glenn M. Wagner (M.Div. 1978)
- Chester Wickwire (B.D. 1946)
- Parker T. Williamson (M.Phil.)
- William Willimon (M.Div. 1971)
Notable past professors
Former faculty: 20th–21st centuries
- Roland Bainton
- Brevard Childs
- Rebecca Chopp
- Adela Yarbro Collins, 2000–2015
- Jerome Davis
- Margaret Farley
- Hans Wilhelm Frei
- Paul L. Holmer
- Serene Jones
- David Kelsey
- Kenneth Scott Latourette
- George Lindbeck
- Sallie McFague
- Douglas Clyde Macintosh
- Reinhold Niebuhr
- H. Richard Niebuhr
- Henri Nouwen, 1971–1981
- Liston Pope (Dean)
- Letty M. Russell (1974–2001)
- Lamin Sanneh
- Emilie Townes
- Denys Turner
- Nicholas Wolterstorff
- Henry Burt Wright (1877-1923)
Former faculty: 19th century
Current faculty (ca. 2019)
- Harold W. Attridge
- Teresa Berger
- John J. Collins
- Michal Beth Dinkler
- John E. Hare
- Erika Helgen
- Jennifer A. Herdt
- Willie James Jennings
- Yii-Jan Lin
- Eboni Marshall Turman
- Donyelle McCray
- Andrew McGowan
- Joyce Mercer
- Mary Clark Moschella
- Laura Nasrallah
- Sally M. Promey
- Melanie Ross
- Janet Ruffing
- Carolyn J. Sharp
- Chloë Starr
- Kathryn Tanner
- Gabrielle Thomas
- Linn Tonstad
- Jacqueline Vayntrub
- Miroslav Volf
- Tisa Wenger
- Christian Wiman
- Almeda M. Wright
- General Theological Seminary, a separate New Haven institution now located in New York City
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- A General Catalogue of the Divinity School of Yale College: A Brief Biographical Record of Its Members in The First Half Century of Its Existence as A Distinct Department. New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse, & Taylor. 1873.
- "Yale Divinity School Milestones, 1822-2012". Yale University Library. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
- "YDS and Andover Newton sign historic agreement". Yale Divinity School. July 20, 2017.
- "With Lilly grant, YDS launches initiative reimagining church for 21st century | Yale Divinity School". divinity.yale.edu. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
- Brown, Julia; Hahamy, Madison (5 November 2020). "Divinity students revive feminist journal". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
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- Taylor, Frances Grandy (27 March 1996). "YALE DIVINITY NAMES NEW DEAN". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
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- "Luther Allan Weigle". Database: Christian Educators of the 20th Century. Biola University. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
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- Yale's Lost Landmarks: Divinity Hall, Yale Alumni Magazine
- Bedford, Steven (1998). John Russell Popoe: Architect of Empire. New York: Random House. pp. 166–168. ISBN 9780847820863.
- "The Quad | Yale Divinity School". divinity.yale.edu. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
- "The Living Village | Yale Divinity School". divinity.yale.edu. Retrieved 2021-03-17.
- "Raymond Benjamin Culver". 1937-1938 Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University (PDF). Yale University. 1938. pp. 137–138.
- "Faculty Members: Professor David Ford". University of Cambridge. 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- "Faculty directory".
- Bernstein, Adam. "Ernest W. Lefever dies at 89; founder of conservative public policy organization", Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2009. Accessed August 3, 2009.
- "Niebuhr, Reinhold". The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
- Mooney, Tom, "Peter Pond's War," Providence Journal, Oct 15, 1989 p. M-06.
- Moore, Gary E. (1988). "The Forgotten Leader in Agricultural Education: Rufus W. Stimson" (PDF). Journal of the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture. 29 (3): 50–58.