At the center of DITA’s work is a group of rigorous doctoral students whose research is expanding new horizons in theology and the arts.

Duke Divinity’s Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) program provides students with academically rigorous training informed by an understanding of theology as critical reflection on Christian practice and belief in the light of holy scripture.

Entering students work within theological disciplines such as Bible, church history, theology, ethics, homiletics, and Christian formation, and also at the intersection of these disciplines with fields such as political science, peacemaking and reconciliation, medicine, and the arts. The program is intentionally interdisciplinary, and students have access to the resources of both the wider university and partner institutions (including UNC-Chapel Hill, NC Central University, and NC State University).

Like the Ph.D., the Th.D. at Duke is a rigorous research degree. The most immediate difference between the two is that the Ph.D. is awarded and supported by the Graduate School of the University, while the Th.D. is awarded through and supported by the Divinity School.

While many Divinity School faculty members are also members of the University’s Graduate Program in Religion (GPR), the Th.D. allows students to pursue their study under the direction of any regular-rank Divinity School faculty member—including those in disciplinary areas that fall outside of the purview of the GPR, such as homiletics, evangelism, and Christian formation.

We are accepting applications for the Bowden Th.D. Scholarship in the Visual Arts, which provides five years of funding, including additional funds to support research and travel during the dissertation.

Th.D. Concentration in the Arts

Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts is committed to establishing rigorous programs of study in theology and the arts at Duke Divinity School. One of the possible areas of concentration within Duke’s Th.D. program is theology and the arts, working with Professor Jeremy Begbie and distinguished faculty in the field. At any one time, DITA typically works with six students in the Th.D. program. The Th.D. provides students with academically rigorous training comparable to the demands of the Ph.D.

Graduate Students at DITA

Our graduate students are pursuing a range of exciting research at Duke. Learn more about their background and research interests.
Allison Garde headshot
Allison Garde

Garde is a graduate of Duke Divinity School, where she completed a Master of Theological Studies with a Certificate in Theology and the Arts in 2023. Her research interests lie at the intersection of literary theory and Biblical Theology: she aims to investigate the biblical reader-text relationship through the lens of literary theory and semantic philosophy. Read more about Garde.

Christina Carnes Ananias headshot
Christina Carnes Ananias

Degree Program: Th.D. in Theology and the Arts
Field of Study: Contemporary Visual Arts

Christina Carnes Ananias’ research focuses on the particular contributions that modernist and contemporary visual art bring to the practice of theology, and how theology informs the interpretation and practice of art-making. Carnes Ananias received her M.T.S. at Duke Divinity School and has served as preceptor and teaching assistant for many DITA courses as a doctoral student.

Brett Stonecipher
Brett Stonecipher

Degree Program: Th.D. in Theology and the Arts
Fields of Study: Poetry and Poetics, Philosophy and Theology of Language

Brett Stonecipher works on philosophical and theological accounts of language, and poetry in particular. His research traces connections and kinships between ancient spiritual practices, philosophical treatments of language, and modern and contemporary poetry. Stonecipher studied literature as an undergraduate and worked as a journalist and teacher prior to earning his M.T.S. from Duke.

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Will Brewbaker

Degree Program: Ph.D. in English Literature
Fields of Study: 20th-Century Poetry and Poetics, Theological Aesthetics

Will Brewbaker’s research takes place, most frequently, at the intersection of poetry and theological inquiry—especially as the two worlds meet in such diachronic and dynamic forms as the “dream vision” or the “Christian” epic. He holds an M.T.S. from Duke Divinity School and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program. His poetry has appeared in Narrative, TriQuarterly Review, Image, Washington Square Review.

Sarah Neff headshot
Sarah Neff

Degree Program: Th.D. in Theology and the Arts
Fields of Study: Theological Anthropology, Ethics, and Literature

Sarah Neff’s research interests center around literary fiction and the role of attention and emotion in moral formation. She focuses on how descriptions of causality, temporality, and relationship in novels shape our ability to attend to and relate to others and the environment. She graduated from Wheaton College with degrees in English literature and theater and has received an M.S.W. from UNC Chapel Hill and an M.Div. from Duke Divinity School.

Debbie Wong headshot
Debbie Wong

Degree Program: Th.D. in Theology and the Arts
Fields of Study: Music, Worship and Formation

Debbie Wong was (and is) a practitioner of worship long before becoming a scholar of worship. She is interested in the theology that shapes worship practices, with an emphasis on charismatic worship. Her dissertation brings the ancient theological insights of St. Augustine into conversation with modern critiques of contemporary praise and worship to suggest that contemporary worship is uniquely capable of shaping the emotional aspect of worshipers’ spiritual formation. Debbie received her M.Div. from Duke Divinity School in 2019 and serves as a worship leader at a local church.

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Andrew Hendrixson

Degree Program: Th.D. in Theology and the Arts
Fields of Study: Continental Philosophy and Creative Nonfiction

Andrew Hendrixson came to the study of theology as a writer and artist, and his research is animated by philosophical and theological questions about the nature of art. Specifically, his work focuses on how art works in concert with the Holy Spirit to reveal hidden truths about God. Hendrixson holds an M.F.A. from the University of Florida and a master’s degree from Yale University. His written work has appeared in Image journal, and he has served as an artist in residence at the Byrdcliffe Colony. His creative work is currently on display at the Hammond Harkins Gallery in Columbus, Ohio.

Rafael Nieves-Rosario headshot
Rafael Nieves-Rosario

Degree Program: Th.D. in Theology and the Arts
Fields of Study: Theology, Pneumatology, and Music

Nieves-Rosario’s project aims to draw connections between how jazz improvisation can expand upon life in the Spirit. A professional guitarist, Nieves-Rosario is interested in how the musical canon and the scriptural canon might inform and illuminate each other, particularly in the context of contemporary communities of faith and the global Church. He holds a B.A. from the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico in San Juan and an M.Div. from Covenant Theological Seminary in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Nicholas White headshot
Nicholas White

Degree Program: Ph.D. in Christian Theological Studies
Fields of Study: Early Christian Thought, Trinitarian Theology and Philosophy and Theology of Language 

Nicholas White is interested in the connections between literature and theology and is especially fascinated by the ways writing works theologically. Particularly, his project examines the poetics of Gerard Manley Hopkins from the perspective of the Russian philosophical-theological school called Sophiology and its representative S. N. Bulgakov. White received his B.A. from William & Mary and his M.T.S. with a Certificate in Theology and the Arts from Duke Divinity School.

Jon Mansen headshot
Jon Mansen

Degree Program: Th.D. in Theology and the Arts
Fields of Study: Hebrew Bible, Poetry, and Theology

Mansen’s research centers around poetry and the poetic imagination in Christian scripture—primarily in the Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible. His project aims to answer several key questions: What does it mean for the process of biblical reception and interpretation to take seriously the poetic impulse of the scriptural imagination? Does it matter that the divinely inspired word is evidently concerned not only with content but also with form? He holds a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University and an M.T.S. from Duke Divinity School.

Featured Alumni

Duke Divinity School’s Th.D. program boasts a superb placement rate, with graduates working at institutions such as United Theological Seminary, Duke Divinity School, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, Fuller Theological Seminary, Baylor University, Loyola University Maryland, Eastern Mennonite University, North Park University, Westmont College, Abilene Christian University, Loyola University Chicago, and Whitworth University.
W. David O. Taylor headshot
W. David O. Taylor
Associate Professor of Theology and Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary

W. David O. Taylor received his Th.D. from Duke Divinity School in 2014. His dissertation, “Feeding and Forming: John Calvin, Materiality, and the Flourishing of the Liturgical Arts” was written under the direction of Professor Jeremy Begbie. Taylor joined the Fuller faculty that same year as an assistant professor of theology and culture as well as the Director of Brehm Texas, an initiative to revitalize the church and the arts. His most recent books are A Body of Praise (Baker Academic, 2023) and Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life (Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins, 2020). Read more at

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Joelle Hathaway
Assistant Professor of Theological Studies, Bethany Theological Seminary

Joelle Hathaway received her Th.D. from Duke Divinity School in 2018 with a focus on theology and the arts and an emphasis in ecotheology and liturgical studies. Hathaway’s dissertation, written under the direction of Professor Jeremy Begbie, was entitled “Offering a Sacrifice of Praise: Human Vocation, Culture-Making, and Cultivating a Sabbath Imagination.” She has published several articles in online symposia as well as an entry in the Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception. Her dissertation is forthcoming from Fortress Press, and she is awaiting the publication of several articles and essays. Read more at

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Jacki Price-Linnartz
Research Editor to Dr. Edgardo Colón-Emeric, Dean of Duke Divinity School

Jacki Price-Linnartz received her Th.D. from Duke Divinity School in 2016. Her research interests lie at the intersections of ethics, theology, and the arts, and her dissertation was entitled “Christ the Mediator and the Idol of Whiteness: Christological Anthropology in T. F. Torrance, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Willie Jennings.” Her short fiction has appeared in Relief Journal and Dreaming Robot Press, and her research has appeared in ARTS journal, Word & WorldParticipatio, and The Art of the New Creation (IVP 2022)—the last of which draws on her dissertation to critique the theological underpinnings of the White Savior trope in blockbuster film. Read more at

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Tanner Capps
Director, The Miller Summer Youth Institute at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Tanner Capps received his Th.D. from Duke Divinity School in 2018. His research focused on theology and early modern studies, and he wrote his dissertation entitled “Vision in John Calvin” under the direction of Professors Jeremy Begbie and Sujin Pak. After completing his doctorate, Capps served as the Bruce Scholars Lecturer in the Honors College at UNC-Wilmington and as Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at St. Andrews Presbyterian College. He has recently published work in Political Theology, the International Journal of Systematic Theology, and the Journal of the American Academy of ReligionRead more on the Miller Summer Youth Institute page.

Adam Perez headshot
Adam Perez
Assistant Professor of Worship Studies, Belmont University

Adam Perez received his Th.D. in liturgical studies with a secondary area in religion and the arts from Duke Divinity School in 2021. His research, conducted under Dr. Jeremy Begbie, focused on the history of contemporary praise and worship, music and worship in pentecostal-charismatic contexts, and American evangelicalism. His scholarly work has appeared in the journals Liturgy, Religions, The Hymn, The Journal of the Society for American Popular Music, Reformed Journal, and Christian Scholar’s Review, among other places. He is a contributing author to Flow: The Ancient Way to Do Contemporary Worship (Abingdon, 2020) and Essays on the History of Contemporary Praise and Worship (Pickwick, 2021). Read more at

Glenn Stallsmith headshot
Glenn Stallsmith
Lead Pastor, Oxford United Methodist Church, Oxford, NC

Glenn Stallsmith received his Th.D. from Duke Divinity in 2022. His research interests included the praise and worship movement within the worldwide church, a subject he previously studied as an ethnomusicologist in the Philippines. Stallsmith’s dissertation, conducted under Dr. Lester Ruth, focused on the practice of extemporaneous prayer with American evangelical worship services. Stallsmith is currently an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church and the pastor of two congregations. His scholarship has appeared in Religions journal, Reformed Worship, and Essays on the History of Contemporary Praise and Worship (Pickwick Press, 2020), among others. Read more at

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Amy Whisenand Krall
Assistant Professor and Assistant Program Director of Biblical and Theological Studies, Fresno Pacific University

Amy Whisenand Krall received her Th.D. from Duke Divinity School in 2020. Her research focused on the role of singing in Christian maturity in the Pauline letters, and she wrote her dissertation on Colossians with an interdisciplinary focus in Theology and the Arts, particularly music. Prior to her doctoral studies, Amy studied for her B.A. at Whitworth University, taught English at a vocational school in Germany on a Fulbright grant, and completed her M.Div. at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her research has appeared in several edited volumes and reference works, such as The Art of New Creation (IVP 2022) and The Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, 2nd ed. (lnterVarsity Press, 2022), and she is a regular contributer to The Wellthe publishing wing of InterVarsity’s initiative Women Scholars and Professionals. Read more at