A Message from the Dean
The University of Chicago Divinity School is a tough-minded, sprawling, rigorous and dynamic conversation about what religion is and why understanding it is so vitally important. At the Divinity School, we believe serious inquiry into the subject of religion requires a university context where all ideas are subject to uncompromising standards of argument and evidence.
Located in the heart of campus, the Div School is the graduate professional school for the academic study of religion at the University of Chicago, founded in 1891. The dominant ethos of the school -- toward the cultivation of new knowledge through research -- imbues both the Ph.D. and masters programs (M.A., M.Div., A.M.R.S.), which are taught by the same faculty. Many Divinity School faculty hold appointments in other departments or schools of the University, and we have a large cohort of associated faculty whose primary appointments range from the Medical and Law Schools to History, Classics and Anthropology. Divinity School students in turn take coursework throughout the University and encounter students from a range of departments in the over 100 courses offered by the Divinity School each year in the academic study of religion, across eleven areas of study: Anthropology and Sociology of Religion, Bible, History of Christianity, History of Judaism, History of Religions, Islamic Studies, Philosophy of Religions, Religion and Literature, Religions in America, Religious Ethics and Theology. The Divinity School and University represent an unparalleled depth of expertise in all five major world religions (Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism), throughout their historical periods, and other religious movements, past and present.
Our faculty and students engage in advanced research in pursuit of new knowledge about the human phenomenon of religion, as viewed from the broadest possible range of perspectives. We train students for all kinds of roles which require thinking and speaking about religion -- in general and specific religious communities, in traditions, texts, rituals, and other realities -- in a manner that is deeply informed, rigorously critical, and honestly engaged.
Our conversation takes place both through research and teaching in Swift Hall and also through a constellation of extracurricular offerings, such as student-organized workshops, public lectures, our student-run coffeeshop (“where God drinks coffee”), and even Divinity Student Association “4-to-8” socials. It takes place in the major scholarly journals History of Religions and Journal of Religion and in programs of the Martin Marty Center, which promotes scholarly engagement with the wider public. And it takes place every week when we meet in community gathering at the Wednesday Community Luncheon, a tradition of conviviality smack in the middle of the week, a weekly chance to enter the conversation from yet another angle.
Come join the conversation.
Margaret M. Mitchell
Dean and Shailer Mathews Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature