A strong faculty is the lifeblood of any academic institution, and the new professors joining the Duke Divinity School community continue the longstanding tradition of academic excellence. They also bring diverse research interests and interdisciplinary passions that will enrich the theological curriculum and increase the capacity to form leaders who can tackle challenges in the church and society. "We are thrilled to have four outstanding faculty colleagues joining us at Duke Divinity School, with two of them, David and Christopher, also assuming important administrative roles," says Dean Greg Jones, the Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Jr. Distinguished Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry. "They represent diverse fields and backgrounds, and together they enhance significantly the teaching, research, and leadership that we are able to offer. Our future is very bright, especially as a consequence of these new colleagues joining our community.”
Christopher Beeley, Jack and Barbara Bovender Professor of Theology, Anglican Studies, and Ministry; Director of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies
Professor Christopher Beeley’s work lies at the intersection of systematic theology, Christian spirituality, and church leadership. An Anglican priest and a founding member of the Episcopal Gathering of Leaders, he has ministered in parishes in Texas, Indiana, Virginia, and Connecticut. He also practices Christian spiritual direction and is a trainee in adult psychoanalysis.
Prior to joining the Duke faculty, Beeley taught for 16 years at Yale Divinity School. In addition to numerous scholarly articles and reviews, he is the author of Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God (Oxford, 2008), which received a John Templeton Award for Theological Promise; The Unity of Christ: Continuity and Conflict in Patristic Tradition (Yale, 2012); and Leading God’s People: Wisdom from the Early Church for Today (Eerdmans, 2012), which is used in several denominational training programs. He is the series editor of Christianity in Late Antiquity (California), the official monograph series of the North American Patristics Society, and he recently co-edited The Bible and Early Trinitarian Theology (Catholic University of America, 2018). He is currently working on a brief systematic spirituality and an in-depth study of Chalcedonian Christology, and he speaks nationally and internationally on Christian theology, spirituality, and church leadership.
David Emmanuel Goatley, Research Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies; Director of the Office of Black Church Studies
Professor David Goatley is a constructive theologian whose scholarship and practice is at the intersection of missiology, Black theology, and leadership strategy. A globally recognized missiologist, he emphasizes cross-cultural experiential learning with indigenous communities to deepen understanding, broaden horizons, and strengthen Christian discipleship and leadership formation.
“All theology is contextual,” Goatley says. “Where you stand determines what you see. Leaders for the church and the world need to notice and name their perspectives, biases, and prejudices. Part of the journey of theological formation involves learning to negotiate these perspectives, repent when they are counter to the gospel, and join the pilgrimage to being transformed into more of what Jesus wants, and needs, us to be.”
Goatley is ordained in the National Baptist Convention, USA, and serves in leadership capacities with the NAACP, Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Society, and the Baptist World Alliance and the World Council of Churches. In addition to articles, essays, and book chapters, he is editor of Black Religion, Black Theology: Collected Essays of J. Deotis Roberts (2003) and authored Were You There? Godforsakenness in Slave Religion (1996, 2007), A Divine Assignment: The Missiology of Wendell Clay Somerville (2010), and Missions Is Essential (2011). His current research projects include leadership development informed by liberation theology, contemporary missiology and strength-based organizational theory, Black Baptist missiology, and African American pneumatology.
“Duke Divinity School is situated within a premier university, with opportunities for interdisciplinary learning, global service, and nurturing new generations of leaders and scholars for the church,” Goatley says. “Being shaped through a journey including urban missions, pastoral ministry, theological education, and global witness has led me to this place where I can nurture faithful leaders for the church and the world.”
Jan Holton, Associate Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Theology and Care
Professor Jan Holton’s work focuses on the psychodynamic implications of trauma and forced displacement, the intercultural dynamics within traditional pastoral care, and pastoral care to marginalized populations.
“Pastors must prepare themselves for both the familiar and traditional forms of individual and family care within congregation and also provide prophetic leadership and skill toward communal care and social justice action,” Holton says. “Natural disasters, homeless shelters, detention centers, prisons, and refugee centers are challenging contexts to provide pastoral care, but they are spaces and places where persons are crying out for hope.”
Holton most recently served on the extension ministry with Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven, Conn., and also was a member of the faculty at Yale Divinity School from 2006 to 2015. In her latest book, Longing for Home (Yale University Press, 2016), She examines the psychological, social, and theological impact of forced displacement on communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan and on indigenous Batwa tribespersons in Uganda, as well as on homeless U.S. citizens and on U.S. soldiers returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She also is an ordained elder in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church.
“I am very pleased and excited to be here at Duke Divinity School,” Holton says. “The opportunities for interdisciplinary research are abundant, and I’m very much looking forward to building relationships across the professional schools. It is a joy to participate in training the next generation of clergy and other religious leaders who I have found to be smart, committed, and eager to develop a pastoral theological lens and skill that helps tend to the spiritual needs of their congregations and communities in these very challenging times.”
Patrick T. Smith, Associate Research Professor of Theological Ethics and Bioethics; Senior Fellow, Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University; Associate Faculty, Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and the History of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine
Professor Patrick Smith was named a 2016–2017 Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology, and he has specific academic interests in the areas of bioethics, social ethics, Black Church studies, hospice and palliative care, and systematic and philosophical theology. He is licensed and ordained with the National Baptist Convention, USA.
“I think Christian ministers need to take seriously and grapple with how the racialized imagination is still at work in how we do life together in the United States,” says Smith. “This issue is so central to Christian witness, given the history of our country and the role of American religion in perpetuating many of these ideas, justifying illegitimate practices, and enforcing policies that have been detrimental to darker-skinned ethnic minority communities. We need a historical memory that looks for a way forward that is deeply informed by the Christian gospel.”
Smith most recently served as associate professor of philosophical theology and ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and was a lecturer at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. He served as core faculty for the master of bioethics program offered through Harvard’s Center for Bioethics and was a principal faculty member for the Initiative on Health, Religion, and Spirituality, an interfaculty initiative across Harvard University that aims to be a research catalyst for an integrated model of spirituality, public health, and patient care in dialogue with spiritual communities. He also worked professionally for eight years as the ethics coordinator for Angela Hospice Care Center in Livonia, Mich. During some of that time he served on the Ethics Advisory Council for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and as a board member for the Hospice Palliative Care Association of Michigan. In addition to regional commitments, Smith has been dedicated to global education, having taught courses and given talks to pastors, medical professionals, educators, and community leaders in Kitwe, Zambia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; and various regions in the West Indies. He is completing a manuscript titled Shalom Ethics and the Struggle for Justice: Toward a Christian Social Ethic.
“I was interested in Duke because of its intentional interdisciplinary focus, both within the Divinity School and with the larger university,” Smith says. “My work and research ranges over theology, moral philosophy, bioethics, social ethics, and Black Church Studies. For me this is a wonderful space in which to do the kind of work about which I am passionate, and I am excited to interact with eager and motivated students.”