Yale Divinity School

From Wikispooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Group.png Yale Divinity School  
(SeminaryTwitter WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Yale Divinity School.png
MottoFaith and Intellect: Preparing Leaders for Church and World
Parent organizationYale University
One of the twelve graduate and professional schools of Yale University

Yale Divinity School (YDS) is one of the twelve graduate and professional schools of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

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.[1]


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.[2] In the same motion, Second Great Awakening theologian Nathaniel William Taylor was appointed to become the first Dwight Professor of Didactic Theology.[3] 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.[3]

After a significant period of enrollment decline, the school began fundraising from alumni for new faculty and facilities.[3] Divinity Hall was constructed on the present-day site of Grace Hopper College between 1869 and 1871, featuring two classroom wings and a chapel.[3] 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.[3] The first Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) was conferred in 1867, and the department became a separate School of Divinity in 1869.[2]

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.


Alumni on Wikispooks

William Sloane CoffinActivist
John Danforth5 September 1936USPolitician
Spoke at the 1979 JCIT on "Terrorism Versus Democracy". He was a mentor of Le Cercle visitor, Paul Dietrich.
Gary Hart28 November 1936Diplomat
Ernest Lefever12 November 191929 July 2009