Across the University seventeen faculty members recently received named professorships or were appointed distinguished service professors, including Divinity School faculty members Dwight N. Hopkins and James T. Robinson.
Dwight N. Hopkins is now the Alexander Campbell Professor of Theology.
A constructive theologian, Hopkins works in the areas of contemporary models of theology, various forms of liberation theologies (especially black and other third-world manifestations), and East-West cross-cultural comparisons. He is interested in multidisciplinary approaches to the academic study of religious thought, especially cultural, political, economic and interpretive methods.
The Divinity School and the Disciples Divinity House of the University of Chicago collaborated in the establishment of the Campbell chair, which recognizes the commitment of both institutions to the graduate study of religion in a fully ecumenical and interfaith academic context.
Alexander Campbell (1788-1866) was a Scots-Irish immigrant to the United States who became a noted biblical translator, college president, and advocate for Christian unity. Campbell was one of the principal founders of what is today the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
The Disciples Divinity House of the University of Chicago (DDH), one of the University’s oldest affiliates, has offered a residential scholarship program in conjunction with the Divinity School since 1894. DDH Scholars are MDiv, MA, or PhD students in the Divinity School. The program includes substantial financial aid, educational programs, and a community of learning, faith, and leadership. The dean of the Disciples Divinity House is Divinity School faculty member Kristine A. Culp, Associate Professor of Theology.
Professor Hopkins was preceded as the Alexander Campbell Professor by Don S. Browning, former dean of the Disciples Divinity House and a scholar of ethics and the social sciences.
James T. Robinson is now the Caroline E. Haskell Professor of the History of Judaism, Islamic Studies, and the History of Religions. He was preceded in this professorship by Bruce Lincoln, a scholar of the history of religions.
Professor Robinson’s research focuses on medieval Jewish intellectual history, philosophy and biblical exegesis in the Islamic world and Christian Europe. His main interests lie in the literary and social dimensions of philosophy, and the relation between philosophy and religion. He has taught more than 25 different courses during his time at UChicago and was awarded, in 2017, a Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring.
Caroline Haskell was committed to Christianity’s missionary spirit but also intensely curious about non-Christian religions as a result of having attended the World’s Parliament of Religions in 1893. In 1894 she endowed two extraordinary programs—the Haskell and the Barrows Lectureships on Comparative Religion; she also is the namesake of the Haskell Oriental Museum on the University campus. The cornerstone of this building, which now houses the Department of Anthropology, proclaims what might be considered one of Mrs. Haskell’s fundamental ideals, Lux ex oriente, “Light from the East.” Fitting to Professor Robinson, Haskell Hall also bears a biblical Hebrew inscription: פתח דבריך יאיר (petah debareka ya’ir) , “Your inscribed words give light” (Ps 119:30).