In addition to its teaching and research, DITA promotes direct engagement with the arts to bring communities into reflection on the Christian story. These performances, art installations, and other events are aimed at fostering and encouraging the arts at the Divinity School, as well as in the wider community at Duke, in Durham, and further afield in the U.S. and Europe.
DITA has hosted a number of other events throughout the years, including a performance of Mendelssohn’s rarely performed St. Paul, a choral work that sets texts mainly from the Acts of the Apostles to music; lectures with award-winning artist Makoto Fujimura; a performance of Benjamin Britten’s The Holy Sonnets of John Donne; a performance of the St John Passion by the distinguished composer James MacMillan in King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England; and a number of Distinguished Lectures in Theology and the Arts, with guest speakers including Professor Nicholas Wolterstorff, Professor Roger Lundin, and Professor Robin Jensen.
The Word Made Fresh
UK-based poet and theologian Malcolm Guite and Canadian singer-songwriter Steve Bell joined musician and theologian Jeremy Begbie for a three-day poetry, music, and teaching event at Duke Divinity School. Public lecture-concerts, readings, and theological discussion were held in Duke Divinity School and Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church, and culminated in a final evening performance in Goodson Chapel.
Sounding the Passion
Since 2010, the Duke-Cambridge Consultation—a group of scholars, musicians, and writers from the U.S., UK, and Ireland—have met in the University of Cambridge and at Duke to discover together a musical, theological, and poetical project centering on the account of Christ’s Passion in the Gospel of Luke. Duke Divinity School, Duke Chapel, and Duke Music Department hosted three days of lectures, panels, poetry, and theological discussion, as well as the premiere of James MacMillan’s St Luke Passion.
In January 2013, DITA premiered QU4RTETS, a visual and musical celebration of T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, in Duke Chapel. A multifaceted engagement of art and faith, the opening night featured a display of 16 original works by painters Bruce Herman and Makoto Fujimura; a performance of “At the Still Point,” a quintet by Christopher Theofanidis commissioned for the event; and lectures by the artists.
Oliver Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen
In August 2012, Duke Divinity School’s Goodson Chapel was filled to capacity as Duke Initiatives in Theology and Arts presented DITA director Dr. Jeremy Begbie and London-based concert pianist Ms. Cordelia Williams in a two-piano concert featuring Oliver Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen.
Duke at Cambridge, Easter at King’s
During Holy Week 2012, the Duke-Cambridge collaboration led by Dr. Jeremy Begbie of Duke University Divinity School met at the Easter at King's celebration. Learn more about the collaboration in the first part of a video series produced after the event.