Duke Divinity School has announced the hiring of two new faculty members: Dr. Kevin Hart has been named the Jo Rae Wright University Distinguished Professor, an appointment made by the Duke University Office of the Provost; and Dr. Aaron Griffith will be an assistant professor of American church history. The appointments will be effective July 1.

Duke Divinity School Dean Edgardo Colón-Emeric welcomed the addition of these key faculty members, saying, “These new colleagues offer distinctive gifts that will enrich the courses and culture here at the Divinity School and strengthen our connections to the university. We are thrilled that they will be joining us, and we rejoice in these opportunities to expand our community during this season of centennials.

Kevin Hart, Jo Rae Wright University Distinguished Professor

Kevin Hart poses amidst paper cranes with a finger raised

Kevin Hart is a theologian, philosopher, historian, and scholar of literature. His areas of focus include systematic theology, modern European philosophy, and literary criticism. He is also an award-winning poet.

Hart has published numerous scholarly books and volumes of poetry and has edited 13 scholarly collections. His recent works include Maurice Blanchot on Poetry and Narrative: Ethics of the Image (Bloomsbury, 2023) and Lands of Likeness: For a Poetics of Contemplation (Chicago University Press, 2023). Forthcoming this year are Dark-Land: Memoir of a Secret Childhood (Paul Dry Books), Contemplation (Columbia University Press), and The Bible and Western Christian Literature (T&T Clark).

He has taught at Monash University and the University of Notre Dame and was most recently Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Christian Studies at the University of Virginia. Hart has given numerous prestigious lectures, including the Glasgow Gifford Lectures in 2019, and won multiple awards for his academic work. His poetry awards include the Christopher Brennan Award and the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry, which he won twice.

Hart will also have a secondary appointment in the Duke University Department of English.

Aaron Griffith, Assistant Professor of American Church History

Aaron Griffith wearing suit and tie

Griffith’s work focuses on American religion, politics, and criminal justice. His book God's Law and Order: The Politics of Punishment in Evangelical America was published in 2020 by Harvard University Press and won the 2022 Best Book Award for History & Biography from Christianity Today. His writing has also appeared in publications including TIME, The Washington Post, Christianity Today, Religion News Service, Religions, and Fides et Historia.

Griffith earned both his M.Div. and Th.D. at Duke Divinity School. Most recently, he served as assistant professor of modern American history at Whitworth University.