Teaching is at the heart of DITA's work. We train future leaders in theology and the arts for work in the church, the academy, and the arts.

In collaboration with Duke Divinity School, DITA offers world-class courses in the field of theology and the arts. Our students have access to all course offerings provided by the Divinity School as well as select courses offered by a variety of departments within Duke University. Course formats represent a broad pedagogical spectrum, from traditional lecture to small-group seminars to the workshop format.

Certificate Courses

The courses offered as a part of our co-curricular Certificate in Theology in the Arts for master’s students focus on three main areas: visual arts, literary arts, and music. Some of our core faculty in the certificate include DITA Associate Director, Dr. Dan Train, Dr. Lauren Winner, and DITA Director, Dr. Jeremy Begbie, among others. The specific courses differ each year and vary depending on the degree program (i.e., residential versus hybrid). All Certificate students are required to complete an introductory course in theology and the arts as well as two additional theology and the arts courses. Below are examples of two recent Certificate courses. 

XTIANTHE 773 “Introduction to Theology and the Arts” 
This course aims to provide an introduction to the ways in which theology can enrich and be enriched by the arts. Covering a wide range—including literature, painting, film, music and drama—it seeks to show how central theological doctrines can transform the way we perceive and make art, and how the arts in turn can deepen our understanding of some of the central tenets of the Christian faith.

XTIANTHE 810 “Søren Kierkegaard” 
Without prior knowledge of Kierkegaard or philosophy, this course offers engagement with primary texts drawn from the following works of Søren Kierkegaard: Fear and TremblingRepetitionEither/OrStages on Life’s WayPhilosophical Fragments, and Works of Love.

Doctoral Courses

As a part of the degree requirements, Th.D. and Ph.D. students in the Theology and the Arts concentration are required to complete two years of coursework. Duke Divinity School provides a rich catalog of courses relevant to a variety of concentrations and specifications within Theology and the Arts. Below are a few recent examples of courses taught by Duke Divinity faculty in theology and the arts, though many doctoral students take courses in a variety of disciplines due to the interdisciplinary nature of the degree. See below for two sample courses and their descriptions.

LTS901 “The History of Contemporary Worship”

This course will research the origins and development of the various strands of alternative worship, known collectively as “contemporary worship,” in English-speaking Protestantism. The focus of investigation will be on the latter half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. 

OT972 “The Psalms, Theology, and the Arts in Jewish and Christian Traditions”

At the heart of the course is a series of conversations with artists and scholars, including the instructors for the course, who give attention to the Psalms in their professional work. After initial sessions with the instructors, we will have discussions (not lectures) with invited guests most weeks. Students will work with the instructors to prepare questions and help to guide the discussion, which, we anticipate, will be about an hour in duration. The remaining class time each week will be devoted to discussions among the regular seminar participants, focusing on assigned readings/viewings/listenings.

Ascension and Pentecost

Recent DITA postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Jonathan Anderson, discusses historical and theological images of the ascension and pentecost in his course “Theology and Visual Art.” Learn more about Duke Divinity courses and our affiliated faculty.

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