[文摘] 美國最佳神學院校排名(2012)

以下是 R. R. Reno 今年對美國神學院校的綜合學術排名(以及這些學校中值得追隨的名師):

1. 杜克大學神學院(Duke Divinity School):Stanley Hauerwas, Paul Griffiths, Reinhard Huetter, Amy Laura Hall, Warren Smith,  Richard Hays, Ellen Davis, Kavin Rowe.

1. 聖母大學神學系(University of Notre Dame Department of Theology):Cyril O’Regan, John Betz, Francesca Murphy, Ann Astell, John Cavadini, Gary Anderson.

3. 美國天主教大學(Catholic University of America School of Theology and Religious Studies):Michael Root, Joseph Capizzi, Christopher Ruddy. David Schindler, Nicholas Healy, and Michael Hanby

4. 多倫多大學威克理夫學院(Wycliffe College and the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto):Joseph Mangina, Chris Seitz, Ephraim Radner

5. 波士頓學院(Boston College School of Theology and Ministry):Khaled Anatolios,

6. 普林斯頓神學院(Princeton Theological Seminary):George Hunsinger, Bruce McCormack, Ellen Charry. John Bowlin

7. 南衛理大學柏金斯神學院(Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University):Bruce Marshall, Billy Abraham

8. 耶魯大學神學院(Yale Divinity School):Kathryn Tanner, Miroslav Volf,  Jennifer Herdt, and John Hare

9. 馬奎特大學(Marquette University):Stephen Long, Mickey Mattox

9. 戴頓大學(University of Dayton):Matthew Levering

最佳福音派神學院(Evangelical Honorary mention) :

  • 惠敦學院(Wheaton College)
  • 三一福音神學院(Trinity Evangelical Divinity School):Kevin Vanhoozer


Reno 衡量的標準包含多個面向。 Reno 的中心命題可以姑且稱為「活路神學」,大方向上他評估這些學院神學的學術前瞻性、正統教會導向。Reno 基督新教轉奉天主教的教會背景、後自由神學倫理學的學術關懷,使他能從普世大公基督教的角度看待神學教育,不獨厚個別宗派,同時拒絕自由神學、世俗化神學、異端思想、基要派等弊端。Reno 指出杜克、聖母、多倫多威克理夫三校已經成為後自由神學重鎮,普神和耶魯雖然不算在發展後自由神學,但幾位重要的學者至少也是後自由神學思想的親近人士。

然而個人認為 Reno 雖然十分正確地排除了一些在死路上發展的保守宗派神學(如偏基要的改革宗和浸信會)和自由派世俗神學(如天主教修正主義),卻很可惜地漏掉了公共神學運動-”the more liberal project of integrating social-cultural-psychological-historical variables”。

Reno 的名單太偏重那些對於服事教會、服事基督徒有直接作用的「認信神學」(confessional theology),反倒是「公共神學」(public theology)運動被忽略了。認信神學在方法論和表述能力上有其侷限,它能夠幫助教會活得更像是一個(屬天的)另類社會,但我們無法光靠它贏得學術戰場。公共神學則要求我們以實證上嚴謹的方式溝通和建構信仰。以此角度觀之,我會填上以下這五所學校,再加上已經在名單中的 Yale Divinity School,作為研究公共神學的首選:

  • 維吉尼亞大學宗教研究所(University of Virginia  Departement of Religious Studies):Charles Matthews, Kevin Hart, Paul Dafydd Jones, Peter Ochs
  • 普林斯頓大學宗教系(Princeton University Departement of Religion): Eric Gregory, Jeffrey Stout
  • 芝加哥大學神學院(University of Chicago Divinity School):Jean-Luc Marion, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Dwight N. Hopkins, Kevin Hector, Martha C. Nussbaum
  • 哈佛大學神學院(Harvard Divinity School): Harvey Cox, Ronald Thiemann, Diane Eck, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza
  • 范德堡大學神學院(Vanderbilt Divinity School):Paul DeHart, Douglas Meeks, Victor Anderson



以下是 Reno 原文。除了思想層面外,他也提到一些學校獎助學金狀況,以及種種影響學生受教品質的辦學因素。

A 2012 Ranking of Graduate Programs in Theology
Nov 26, 2012
R.R. Reno

Where’s the best place to do graduate study in theology? I’ve done some rankings in the past, first in 2006 and then again in 2009. A longer ranking with a more developed rationale appeared in the pages of First Things in 2010. Some friends prodded me recently: have I changed my mind? Yes and No.

R.R. RenoMy criteria are as follows: (1) orthodoxy and support for graduate students who want to think with the Church, (2) intellectual rigor, (3) commitment to students, and (4) financial aid.

The top programs remain Duke Divinity School and the University of Notre Dame. Duke continues to be the program that best combines the intellectual and cultural confidence of the liberal mainline Protestant tradition (Duke’s heritage is Methodist) with a fresh, postliberal conviction that in today’s academic culture we need to focus on renewing and deepening the traditional and apostolic character of theology. That’s the legacy of Stanley Hauerwas, a longtime professor at Duke, and it’s an approach widely shared among the leading faculty: Paul Griffiths, Reinhard Huetter, Amy Laura Hall, Warren Smith, and others.

Duke is also the best place for anyone who wants to combine theology with biblical studies. Richard Hays (currently Dean), Ellen Davis, and Kavin Rowe provide leadership within the guild of biblical scholars. Hauerwas (Gospel of Matthew) and Griffiths (Song of Songs) have written biblical commentary. Huetter plans to write one as well.

You shall know them by their fruits. There are important, creative, and influential theologians in the rising generation of scholars, and I think it’s fair to say that a disproportionate number did their doctoral degrees at Duke over the last two decades.

Notre Dame’s greatest strength is Notre Dame. The university has outstanding Christian scholars in many disciplines. As a consequence, theology is not remote or isolated. It’s a place where you can get a theological education that takes for granted the intellectual and cultural centrality of faith, and that’s a wonderful and precious opportunity, especially given the fact that academia as a whole is largely secular.

The theology department has some superb faculty: Cyril O’Regan, John Betz, Francesca Murphy, Ann Astell, John Cavadini, Gary Anderson, and others. Like their peers at Duke, they’re broadly postliberal. They see the challenges we face in an increasingly secular culture—and they respond by returning to the apostolic tradition. They also care about their students, which combined with the financial resources of Notre Dame makes for a very congenial and supportive environment for doctoral study in theology.

After Duke and Notre Dame the programs aren’t so uniformly attractive, but there remain some very good options.

#3: Catholic University. It’s an increasingly important place for theology these days. The main vehicle for graduate study is the School of Theology and Religious Studies. It’s been a troubled program for decades, often reflecting the complex problems facing Catholic theology in America: the dead-end of Rahnerian and so-called contextual theologies, a shift toward lay faculty and students, conflicts with the Church’s magisterium, and so forth.

But there are some fine people teaching there now, including Michael Root, Joseph Capizzi, and Christopher Ruddy. Moreover, Catholic University has a number of federated programs that give graduate students access to excellent faculty—or even alternative paths to graduate degrees. David Schindler, Nicholas Healy, and Michael Hanby teach at the John Paul II Center for Marriage and Family. The Dominican House of Studies provides students with instruction in a confident and intellectually resurgent Thomism.

There are two problems at Catholic University. First, the financial resources aren’t sufficient to support graduate study fully. Second, the federated programs remain inadequately integrated and coordinated. That said, there’s one significant and unique asset: a decidedly Roman and clerical tradition. It’s an illusion to imagine that theology can be done at a distance from the Church. That’s not a danger at Catholic U.

#4: Wycliffe College and the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto. Unlike Catholic U. there’s no theology department. Instead, the program is made up of federated colleges and seminaries. Wycliffe College is an evangelical Anglican seminary that also sponsors masters and doctoral students in theology. The college has some superb faculty, such as Joseph Mangina, Chris Seitz, and Ephraim Radner. Like the best professors at Duke, they’re committed to the postliberal project, broadly understood, giving the program personality and purpose. Negative: not enough money to give a full cohort of graduate students sufficient financial support.

#5: Boston College. When I look down the list of theology faculty at Boston College I tend to yawn. Many are part of the Catholic theological establishment in the U.S., which has become largely uncreative and uninteresting. But if you add in the School of Theology and Ministry (formed when the nearby Jesuit seminary was recently merged into Boston College) there are lots of professors to work with, including Khaled Anatolios, one of the most important scholars of patristic theology. In any event, they must be doing something right, because they produce good students who go on to do good work. Positive: enough money to support graduate students, which perhaps explains why their recent graduates have a winsome zeal and commitment to theology.

#6: Princeton Theological Seminary. This is undoubtedly the best place to study Karl Barth, whether in the style of George Hunsinger or Bruce McCormack. But it’s more than that. Ellen Charry and John Bowlin provide alternatives. The doctoral programs are run through the seminary. This provides a Church-focused environment that prevents theology from becoming an academic game. Positives: good financial support for graduate students and access to the vast resources of Princeton University.

In the past I’ve also included the religion department at Princeton University. It’s a unique program in many ways, one that supports and encourages graduate students. Eric Gregory is a fine mentor for students who want to think with the Church. But the more I think about it, the more I find myself coming to the conclusion that the program as a whole isn’t right for someone who wants to be trained and formed as a theologian. The program is too much a creature of the university, not the Church. You’re better off doing your degree at Princeton Theological Seminary while taking classes in the religion department.

#7: Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.By and large the program reflects the drabness of liberal Protestantism, but Bruce Marshall and Billy Abraham teach there. Abraham has trained a generation of excellent theologians, and I regard Marshall as one of the most important theologians working today, Protestant or Catholic.

#8: Yale University. The liberal Protestant tradition need not be sterile, and at Yale Divinity School it’s not. Kathryn Tanner is a very good mentor. Miroslav Volf has a fine theological imagination. Jennifer Herdt and John Hare do creative work in Christian Ethics. For a student who has a First Things view of the world, you’ll meet resistance, but for the most part it’ll be smart and useful.

#9 & #10: In the past I’ve given Marquette University good marks. Lately staffing has changed. Ralph Del Colle passed away earlier in the year, and Alexander Golitzen left to become an Orthodox bishop. This tilts the program in the direction of dead-end liberal Catholicism. There are still good folks there (Mickey Mattox, Stephen Long), but it’s less congenial than it once was. The University of Dayton is moving in the other direction, adding some new and interesting people in recent years. It’s worth a look.

As I review my list, I see that it’s tilted in a slightly Catholic direction. Mea culpa. I also see that I have no Evangelical institutions, although Wycliffe and Princeton Theological Seminary claim aspects of that heritage. In the past I’ve given Wheaton and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School a nod, but in all honesty I’m not well enough informed to have a right to an opinion on these programs.

I hope this informal ranking is helpful. Remember to read with a grain of salt. There’s no substitute for talking to current graduate students. They have the goods on the professors. And don’t forget that studying theology, the queen of the sciences, is almost always intrinsically gratifying and worthwhile. Enjoy.

R.R. Reno is Editor of First Things. He is the general editor of the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible and author of the volume on GenesisHis previous “On the Square” articles can be found here.

回應:「身為基督徒對真愛聯盟的疑惑」-他者、多元、與啟示 vs. kockroach 1

Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze

kockroach @ PTT Christianity says,

1. 你在「分辨陳述性(descriptive)語言的現象描繪和作為規範性(prescriptive)語言的意識型態入侵」的這一段先主張應該把多元現象放入現象學的括號(bracketing)中,採取存而不論(epoqué )的態度,避免主觀的判斷。

2. 但是到了後面一段,卻又先驗的主張「我們認為是罪的…」。

你是在尊重他者(多元性)的口號下,假裝有一個「他者」的存在,但你其實是在「我」與「他」之間劃下一道無法逾越的界線,讓他者在自己的門外喧嘩,把他們稱為「罪人」,而自己卻躲在 ghetto 之中相信自己才是倖存的先知。



但這和你最後面所說,其他人也「具備上帝形象(imago Dei)」的神學立場其實是完全相反而牴觸的。

3. 上帝形象的神學並不是告訴我們「要愛罪人」,而是告訴我們「那不是罪人,那是主所愛的,在他身上也有著上帝的形象」。基督徒的責任,是讓所有的人都能暢行無阻地、自願地到神面前,把自己的香膏打破,澆在耶穌頭上。

因為上帝的形象存在於「他者」身上,而且上帝本身就是最終極的他者(the Other),因此認識到他者也有自己的發話權,認識到自己的主體論述可以隨時被他者所中斷(interrupt),同時認識到「我」是一個開放而非封閉的主體,才有可能在這個面對「絕對他者」的信仰中,打破自己,被他感召、啟示和救贖。

只有認識到主體本身也是多元而複雜的(即使在基督教內部,對同性戀的態度也是多元的),認識到上帝有著「他者」的臉龐,才能在視域融合(fusion of horizon)的企圖中,接近它者害怕的面容,聽到他虛弱的聲音:「不要殺我」。





我認為kockroach 的第一點和第二點是誤讀和誤解我的立場。第三點則才真正展現我們的神學立場衝突和差異。

1. 在現象學還原和屬靈爭戰辨別的這段,我談的是「現象」。

如同Zheng Fuyao在一段FB同志家庭長大的青年公開見證影片下的一段聲明:

基督徒若把民主社會裡必然出現的文化價值衝突理解成屬靈爭戰無疑是致命的失誤,錯把應該細心呵護關懷的對象當成 »敵人 »或 »有問題的人 »予以批判潔淨(要求先認罪才配得被愛),既忘了自己根本是在不配愛的情況下被上帝無條件地接納,也忘了那真正需戒慎面對的對手是看不見的靈性勢力,以及那迫使受壓迫者無法自由呼吸的社會文化結構。

再者,「存而不論」(epoqué)不是永久性的。純粹的懷疑論不是倫理學。Richard Hays, Miroslav Volf 等神學倫理學家都強調我們無法避免在僅擁有「局部知識」的不得以情況下採取道德立場。(例如,如果小鳴看似要跳樓,儘管我不知道發生什麼事,我需要第一時間上去拉他。結果可能是我判斷錯誤了,但這就是「無法避免在僅擁有局部知識的不得以情況下採取道德立場」的倫理折衷。)







是在尊重他者(多元性)的口號下,假裝有一個「他者」的存在, 但你其實是在「我」與「他」之間劃下一道無法逾越的界線,自己躲在 ghetto 之中相信自己才 是倖存的先知。




您如果要進入完全的意識型態批判,和列維納斯(Emmauel Levinas)倫理系統的激進詮釋,我只能同意它也說得通,但您必須紮實的有神學根基去解構現下的基督教神學。Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace, 1996已經針對這點給了有力的回應(見第二章:排斥、第三章:擁抱、第五章:欺壓與正義)。他提出,「他者」在基督教救恩論中沒有被客體化,而是重建主體性。特別是在擁抱的隱喻中(如浪子回頭後與父親的擁抱),「先展開雙臂、等待對方回抱」(循循善誘)正是他者無法被切除的證據。

上帝形象的神學並不是告訴我們「要愛罪人」,而是告訴我們「那不是罪人,那是: 主所愛的,在他身上也有著上帝的形象」。基督徒的責任,是讓所有的人都能暢行: 無阻地、自願地到神面前,把自己的香膏打破,澆在耶穌頭上。


「世人都犯了罪、虧缺了神的榮耀。 如今卻蒙神的恩典、因基督耶穌的救贖、就白白的稱義。」


其實您整篇回覆,誠實地說,我覺得我回這段就夠了。您所提的,既是田立克(Paul Tillich)面對終極關懷的態度,又是列維納斯(Emmauel Levinas)的他者,還有德勒茲(Gilles Deleuze)非此、非彼之主體性游牧的況味。
我對這些人都是開放的。我是先接觸哲學和自由神學,才學習福音神學(evangelical theology)和大公神學(catholic theology),也一直以來的都企圖在正統神學框架下延展更多外來聲音衝撞的可能性。但是所有的神學都有個底線:上帝的啟示。




拉赫納(Karl Rahner)將天主教完全對外開放的努力值得敬佩,但我老師和我都覺得他失敗了:從左派角度不夠解構,從右派角度更不用說,完全守不住聖經啟示的救恩論(太多經文他根本解不過去)。

Tillich 處理啟示的方式是完全將它坍塌到文化、經驗中。他的存在主義神學,叫人不是透過讀經認識耶穌、瞭解上帝心意,而是像您說的,在「存在性邂逅」( existential encounter )遭遇「絕對他者」,打破自己,被他感召、啟示和救贖,發掘一種新生命的可能性。

從前我愛死 Tillich了(現在還是很愛,他的「嗣子」基督論是我不停反思和想要引渡的一塊),但他的系統所要付出的代價太大:十字架的死、復活、永生,全都變成一種道德寓言,可以不按照「歷史」、「猶太-基督文化傳統下」律法、啟示、恩典等神學概念的脈絡理解。


「 我是耶和華你們的 神、所以你們要成為聖潔、因為我是聖潔的」(利未記十一:44)


因此,我回頭承襲歷代以來正統神學所傳承的模型:所有外部聲音、人物想要進入到修改教義內容的程度,都必須要回到解經。現在有些同志神學,如哈佛(Harvard Divinity School)、范德堡(Vanderbilt Divinity School)、耶魯(Yale Divinity School)的,都做得不錯,原因在於能從解經立場上扭轉基督徒對創世紀、羅馬書、哥林多書信的定見。

否則,基督徒最多能做到傾聽之神學、溝通之神學、現象學之保留。但無法以聖經明文啟示之是為非。就算被溝通被打斷無數次,最後還是要說:「我相信同性戀性行為(非傾向)是神所不喜悅的,一如婚外情、婚前性行為是神所不喜悅的。」(Martin Luther « sola scriptura« : 請用聖經說服我。)

[文摘] NRC 2010 University rankings

Source: 1) http://chronicle.com/article/nrc-religion/124664/ 2) http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/princeton-university/1006939-princeton-2010-national-research-council-nrc-rankings-news-item.html

Not long ago in this month, NRC released its updated survey on American higher educational institutions, ranked both according to disciplines in a more specific terms and the entire institution as a whole.

The survey has included all seminaries and divinity schools under the rubric of [studies of] ‘religion’, just as nowadays it is hard to distinguish the substance of a department of thelogy from a department of religion by any simple criterion, let alone merely by name.

As far as I am concerned, it seems that Duke University, Princeton University, University of Chicago, and Yale University emerged to be great places for theological conversations with humanities.



1—Duke Graduate School of Religion
2—U. of Chicago Divinity School
3—UNC Chapel Hill Department of Religious Studies
4—Notre Dame: Département de Théologie
5—Emory Graduate Division of Religion
6—Harvard School of The Study of Religion
7—Brown Religious Studies
8—Princeton Department ofReligion
9—Yale Department of Religious Studies
10–Boston College Department of Theology

Then…. humanities………………


8—Berkeley (different department)
9—Columbia (different department)
10–U. of Michigan


5—U. of Maryland


6—U. of Michigan
10–U. of Wisconsin


7—U. of Wisconsin
9—U. of Michigan
10–U. of Connecticut


1—U. of Chicago
3—U. of Minnesota
4—Indiana U.
9—Ohio State
10–UNC Chapel Hill


3—Princeton (different department)
5—U. of Chicago
7—Harvard (different department)


3—U. of Michigan
6—U. of Chicago

[文摘] 美國最佳神學院校排名(2010)

Source: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/10/schools-of-thought

以排名神學院引起爭議和聲名大噪的R.R. Reno又出招了。


  1. 杜克大學神學院強項神學院總體、聖經神學、對後自由神學的凝聚力。 弱項:杜克大學其他與神學相關的人文學科所展現的信仰氛圍並不像一所基督教大學。
  2. 聖母大學神學系(與第一名並列)-強項:大學神學系以外的人文學科和科學也有明顯的建構神學風氣。這是一所基督教大學真正該有的樣子。 弱項:系統神學
  3. 普林斯頓神學院強項:新教系統神學(特別是巴特和後自由神學)、和普大合作。
  4. 普林斯頓大學宗教系(與第三名並列)-強項:經費寬裕、對學生慷慨照顧、宗教與社會倫理學、和普神合作 弱項:聖經神學
  5. 多倫多大學神學院威克理夫學院強項:對後自由神學的凝聚力
  6. 美國天主教大學弱項:資源分散、經費欠缺
  7. 馬奎特大學神學系強項:有一兩位名師 弱項:整體學風散慢、競爭意識強度不足
  8. 波士頓學院神學系強項:規模大而平整、經費充裕
  9. 耶魯大學神學院強項:有一兩位名師 弱項:學風墮為剩下「宗教多元」模糊定向的新自由派、聖經研究與教會脫節
  10. 南衛理公會大學柏金斯神學院強項:有一兩位名師 弱項學風墮為剩下「宗教多元」模糊定向的新自由派
  11. 惠頓學院強項:有一兩位名師、對福音派聖經神學的凝聚力、平均畢業時間短 弱項:年輕
  12. 聖母頌大學(Ave Maria University)(與惠頓並列)-強項:對天主教神學的凝聚力
  13. 戴頓大學(與惠頓並列)-強項:有一兩位名師

Reno 評定標準包含學術氛圍、屬靈空氣、對於化育英才的認真態度、對教會有關懷的神學導向等。

與去年相比,更多的天主教學校浮上抬面。值得注意的是,耶魯神學院自2010年秋天得Kathryn Tanner從芝加哥大學轉任後,(搭配原有鎮院之寶中生代的Volf )現終於被Reno視為可以在「正統基督教」框架下討論的學校了-儘管除此之外,耶魯整體距離「好人當道」還有相當一段的…我們說「改進空間」。








最後也不得不說此番Reno 在文末署名中的頭銜,不再如06 和09年撰排名文時用「Creighton University神學倫理學教授」這樣的個人學術立場,而是稱「First Things資深編輯」,這某種程度上意味著Reno的排名文到了今年已經默默代表了 First Things這份「普世合一」性刊物的公開立場。



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Schools of Thought

When choosing a graduate program in theology, the best is not always not the brightest

R.R. Reno

It’s not easy to answer, the simple question of where to study theology. Interests, backgrounds, convictions, and levels of academic preparation combine in complicated ways when choosing a graduate program in theology. Still, certain qualities always matter: intellectual climate, commitment to students, corporate personality, and the atmosphere of faith at the institution. Keeping these factors in mind, we can try—or at least I can try—to work up a rough ranking of graduate programs in theology. Let’s start with intellectual climate. Am I smart enough? Am I working hard enough? Are my standards high enough? Taken to an extreme, the pressure of such questions becomes demoralizing. But the more common danger in academic life is lassitude and self-congratulating mediocrity. All of us tend to walk when we don’t have to run—a universal human tendency made worse by a very American egalitarian ethos that prizes amiable stupidity over demanding intelligence.

Academic reputation can serve as a rough proxy for high standards. But beware programs whose big names fly in for a semester here or there. Academic culture cannot be built in airport lounges.

The same holds for professors in endowed chairs, who function as lofty aristocrats, removed from the faculty members who actually advise students and oversee dissertation research. Professors who won’t answer emails or meet with students are worse than useless. They encourage a selfish atmosphere that injures their less famous but more committed colleagues. The latent (or not so latent) rancor can make the experience of graduate school sour indeed. Like clergy of old, professorial superheroes scramble for sinecures. More than fifty years ago, Jacques Barzun correctly identified the academic flight from students: “The highest prize of the teaching profession is: no teaching. For the first time in history, apparently, scholars want no disciples.”

So, when looking for a graduate program in theology, don’t get starry-eyed over big-name schools or celebrity professors. A unified, committed group of professors at any university is far, far superior to famous professors who are rarely around. Graduate programs flourish when professors give more time and attention to graduate students than to their own careers.

In other words, assess the moral character of any graduate program you consider. An uneven academic climate can be overcome by the special chemistry that often develops between a few superb professors and their graduate students. A culture of selfishness or conflict among faculty almost always leads to the neglect or mistreatment of graduate students.

A good graduate program in theology doesn’t just have high academic standards and a commitment to students. It needs to stand for something—neo-Thomism, or Barthianism, or postliberalism, or neoorthodoxy, or some other angle of vision. The labels never fully capture the complex interplay of faculty interests, but they do suggest a theological culture—a corporate personality capacious enough to allow for interesting arguments yet defined enough to give the arguments weight and focus.

Too often, students, faculty, and administrators—in their different ways—underestimate the importance of corporate personality. Not long ago, Harvard Divinity School stood for something. So did Claremont, Yale, the University of Chicago, and Union Theological Seminary. They were alive with the urgency of the mainline Protestant project, which reflected the needs of a living community of believers negotiating the relations between modern identity and the traditional demands of faith.

The dramatic decline of the once dominant Protestant establishment has set these programs adrift. With little sense of purpose, they tend to divvy up faculty appointments: some historical specialists, a feminist, a liberationist, somebody doing world religions, perhaps a Jewish scholar or a Muslim—even a faculty member or two who represent a moderately traditional outlook. The whole is far less than the sum of the parts. Education in its fullest sense “will never issue,” as John Henry Newman wrote, “from the most strenuous efforts of a set of teachers with no mutual sympathies and no intercommunion.”

The same trend toward ungrounded diversity can be found in some Catholic programs. The liberal Catholic project, less rich and significant than the liberal Protestant project, also has become increasingly marginal. Losing touch with the reality of the Church, these theological programs are sometimes animated by a spirit of protest against magisterial authority. For the most part, however, they just drift, often becoming programs of “Religious Studies,” a title that almost always signals the death of theological seriousness.

Unlike the study of philosophy or mathematics, and more like the study of history and literature, the study of theology is given sharp outlines by the coherence and integrity of a historical community. The reality of the Church—her doctrines, her endless problems, and her alluring beauty—sets the agenda for theology. The best programs have a connection—not necessarily official, not always happy, but still fundamental—to living churches.

Intellectual rigor, commitment to students, a church-oriented theological personality—all these factors are important, but none more than a healthy spiritual atmosphere. You are no more likely to mature as a theologian outside an atmosphere of prayer and piety than to progress as a scientist without intimate experience with the experimental work of the laboratory.

Graduate study in any discipline always involves the formation of the intellect, a disciplining of desire, and a training of habits. Of the intellectual life in general, the Dominican A.G. Sertillanges once wrote, “We must give ourselves from the heart if truth is to give itself to us. Truth serves only its slaves.”

In theology the spirit of devotion is all the more important, for theological wisdom is rooted in an act of intellectual submission to God’s revelation in Christ. As St. Bonaventure warned, we must ground our life of study in prayer, setting aside the illusion “that it suffices to read without unction, speculate without devotion, investigate without wonder, examine without exultation, work without piety, know without love, understand without humility, be zealous without divine grace, see without wisdom divinely inspired.”

Not every professor and graduate student must be Christian. Not all scholarship has to crackle with the ardor of faith. Committed Jewish or Muslim or Hindu scholars can contribute to a spirit of faithful inquiry at a Christian school. In fact, their witness in our contemporary academic culture of antinomianism and unbelief can be far more powerful than the example of a Christian scholar who bows to the latest academic fashions.

A program in theology is worth undertaking only if it includes the possibility of a spiritual formation that complements intellectual formation. That spiritual formation may, perhaps, be only latent, perhaps only partial, perhaps emerging from fellow students rather than from official goals. But it must be a real possibility.

And what about specific programs? Here is my crib sheet—a necessarily imperfect and idiosyncratic ranking of graduate programs. I’ll begin by cheating. I’ve ranked two schools in the number-one spot: Duke and Notre Dame. They have different strengths. Duke projects a stronger corporate personality, while Notre Dame offers an overall academic environment more profoundly and extensively sympathetic to the intellectual significance of Christian faith.

A Methodist institution, Duke features some of the bright lights of Protestant theology: Stanley Hauerwas, Geoffrey Wainwright, Jeremy Begbie, Amy Laura Hall, and J. Cameron Carter. Reinhard Hütter is a Lutheran turned Catholic, and his work moves in a strongly Scholastic direction. Paul Griffiths, another Catholic professor, is a polymath who combines a remarkable plasticity of mind with a vigorous defense of orthodoxy.

These folks do not agree about everything, but, taken together, most are committed to the postliberal project. Understood broadly, postliberalism means taking seriously the venerable liberal project in Protestantism: Contemporary Christians need to come to terms with the intellectual, moral, and spiritual challenges of the modern world. Yet, unlike the liberal project, which looked for philosophical or sociological concepts to mediate or soften the clashes between classical Christian faith and modernity, postliberalism returns to the specific language and practice of Christianity—the Bible, the Nicene tradition, and the liturgy—for solutions.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Duke is the best place for someone who wants to integrate theology with biblical studies. Richard Hays, now acting dean, has consistently broken down artificial barriers between historical study of the Bible and theological analysis. Kavin Rowe, Stephen Chapman, and Ellen Davis encourage their graduate students to be formed in theology as well as biblical studies. Stanley Hauerwas and Paul Griffiths have written substantial commentaries on books of the Bible, and Reinhard Hütter plans to do so as well.

The main problem with Duke is, well, Duke. The Ph.D. program is run through the university’s department of religion, not the divinity school, and this has tended to restrict artificially the number of students admitted. A few years ago, however, the divinity school inaugurated a Th.D. program, thereby allowing more students to be trained at the doctoral level.

This institutional adjustment cannot overcome the larger fact that Duke is a typically secular elite university. The intellectual firepower of the professors of history, literature, philosophy, and classics—all disciplines that a good program in theology should draw on to some degree or other—remains largely alien and unsympathetic, a reminder that theology has an eccentric place in the intellectual culture of late modernity.

Where Duke is weak, Notre Dame is strong—very strong. As the flagship Catholic university in America, Notre Dame attracts a great deal of attention, not all of it positive. Many—and I include myself—gripe that Our Lady’s university doesn’t do as much as it could, or that it compromises unnecessarily with the academic status quo. But, such criticisms duly noted, Notre Dame still has a remarkable array of Christian scholars in many different disciplines. The upshot: A theological student can get a real sense of theology as the queen of the sciences.

The department of theology itself is huge and, although uneven, nonetheless contains many superb professors. Graduate students sing the praises of Cyril O’Regan, as generous with his time as he is brilliant. Brian Daley is one of the most influential figures in Catholic theological education, not only because his scholarly work commands the respect of his peers but also because he mentors students and builds a community of theological scholarship. John Cavadini, the longtime chair, is one of the best contemporary interpreters of St. Augustine and another professor who cares about students. Ann Astell provides a unique theological and literary expertise. Gary Anderson unites theological study with the modern tradition of historical study of the Bible.

But in systematic theology proper—Cyril O’Regan aside—Notre Dame has remained bland, hobbled by the legacy of the liberal project in post–Vatican II Catholic theology. This important movement in modern Catholic theology has intellectual integrity, but, too often, figures such as Richard McBrien think of theology almost entirely in light of contemporary Church politics.

Turning theology into an instrument of church politics remains a problem for many Catholic programs in theology. Fordham provides a sad case in point. As the old agenda of the 1970s calcifies, it becomes more a list of talking points than a living theological project. “Theology must take history seriously!” The first time I heard the slogan I yawned; the hundredth time, I sighed.

Fortunately, new hires in systematic theology have strengthened the Notre Dame program. John Betz, a fine young scholar of modern theology, joins the faculty this year, along with Francesca Murphy, one of the most creative and forceful theological writers of her generation.

After Duke and Notre Dame the rankings get murky and I have to cheat a bit more, identifying the odd and strictly unofficial hybrid of the Princeton department of religion and Princeton Theological Seminary as the third-best place to study. The seminary, founded in 1812, has always been independent of the university. They are, however, contiguous, and in recent years a spirit of cooperation has developed. As a consequence, doctoral students at the university can draw on the very intense and sophisticated theological atmosphere of the seminary, while graduate students at the seminary can participate in the supportive department of religion and the first-rate intellectual environment of the university.

Princeton Theological Seminary has a very strong corporate personality. George Hunsinger and Bruce McCormick are world-renowned interpreters of Karl Barth. But one doesn’t get all Barth all the time. Ellen Charry provides an alternative voice, and John Bowlin brings St. Thomas to the Calvinists. A Protestant doctoral student will find a rich atmosphere in which classical debates continue. By my reckoning, Princeton Theological Seminary is the best place in the United States to study Protestant dogmatics.

The Princeton University department of religion may be the Ivy League program that has remained truest to the liberal Protestant ethos that long dominated private East Coast institutions. Jeffrey Stout, the presiding presence, is preoccupied with the social and cultural influence of Christianity in American democratic culture. Eric Gregory advances similar concerns, working closely with such classical Christian theologians as St. Augustine and St. Thomas.

Other professors are good as well. Leora Batnitsky can help students see the ways in which modern Judaism has negotiated the conflicts between tradition and modernity. But more important, perhaps, is the reputation that the Princeton department of religion has for lavishing love and attention on graduate students. I’ve read many recommendations for recent Ph.D.s looking for jobs in theology. The slapdash, almost bored letters graduate professors write often shock me. Not so those from the faculty of the Princeton department of religion.

If you are a young Catholic, neither the seminary nor the department of religion at Princeton will provide anything approaching the depth and breadth of Catholic theology available at Notre Dame. Yet the accidents of history have made Princeton spiritually congenial. An intellectually engaged Opus Dei house in town provides a healthy spiritual center of gravity. If your interests run in the direction of social ethics or the classic Vatican II question of the role of the Church in the modern world, Princeton might be for you.

Fourth on my list is Wycliffe College, an Anglican institution that is part of the Toronto School of Theology, a consortium of programs affiliated with the University of Toronto. Developed under the leadership of George Sumner, Wycliffe shares with Duke a strong postliberal corporate personality. Joseph Mangina is an astute interpreter of Karl Barth, and Ephraim Radner has articulated one of the most compelling and richly theological accounts of the Christian experience of modernity. Chris Seitz approaches biblical scholarship with theological depth and penetration.

You need not be Anglican to study at Wycliffe. In fact, many of the doctoral students are evangelicals of various stripes. Yet I think it is fair to say that graduate study at Wycliffe has a churchy, pious atmosphere. It’s a place where St. Bonaventure’s warning is heeded.

In the fifth and sixth slots I put two Catholic institutions: the Catholic University of America and Marquette University.

Catholic University proper offers degrees through the School of Theology and Religious Studies. It’s an uninspired program limited by inadequate resources, a clerical past that no longer corresponds to reality, and a tendency to teach post–Vatican II theology as if it were 1970. But there are other options: the John Paul II Institute and the Dominican House of Studies. David Schindler, Michael Hanby, Nicholas Healy, and others at the John Paul II Institute introduce graduate students to the enduring achievements of twentieth-century Catholic theology. At the Dominican House of Studies, students can find several fine professors devoted to reformulating a Thomistic synthesis for twenty-first-century Catholicism.

Overall, inadequate funding for graduate students and the fragmentation of faculty into distinct institutes and programs can make Catholic University a difficult environment for graduate students. But the university’s problems largely reflect the reality of the Catholic Church, which lacks a clear theological consensus; thus, paradoxically, the raggedy-edge atmosphere has a genuine ecclesial integrity. And at Catholic University the discipline of theology remains utterly central, and the role of Church doctrine as the foundation of the discipline is presumed and debated.

Alone among Jesuit doctoral programs, the theology department at Marquette has as its greatest strength the fact that it is not hobbled by the increasingly superannuated agenda of liberal Catholic theology. The faculty in historical theology and systematic theology don’t necessarily jell into a corporate personality, but professors such as Ralph Del Colle and Susan Wood are pushing forward, trying to discern the possibilities for Catholic theology in North America after the collapse of the short-lived but once ruthlessly dominant Rahnerian consensus. Some of the avatars of the declining Rahnerian approach still teach at Marquette, but the theologies of Hans Urs von Balthasar and St. Thomas are also well represented.

Marquette’s biggest liability is Marquette. It’s a fine institution, but it lacks the overall atmosphere of academic excellence that one finds at most elite universities, and this invariably holds back the theology department as well.

Two problem children rank seventh and eighth: Boston College and Yale University. Both schools have ample resources and many fine professors, but both lack robust theological cultures.

Boston College has a large faculty, made even larger by the recent absorption of the Jesuit faculty of the nearby Weston School of Theology. There are plenty of professors who are fine scholars, and among them Khaled Anatolios shines the brightest. His approach to the Church Fathers trains aspiring graduate students to think theologically.

The corporate personality at Boston College isn’t always congenial. Since the 1970s the Society of Jesus has thrown most of its weight behind the liberal Catholic project in theology, and the programs at Boston College suffer from the soft authoritarianism that has arisen to prevent a younger generation from deviating. Don’t be deterred, however. I know some very fine young theologians who have emerged from Boston College, suggesting that the vast resources of the school can be mobilized to support good work.

Yale has some fine professors as well. Miroslav Volf and the recently hired Kathryn Tanner make an excellent pair. Volf has a vivid phenomenological imagination guided by liberal evangelical sensibilities, while Tanner has an almost purely conceptual mind put to the task of preserving as much of classical orthodoxy as possible for twenty-first-century liberal Protestantism.

But, as an institution, Yale lacks a corporate personality. Only a few students are accepted for doctoral study in theology in the department of religious studies. Meanwhile, the Yale Divinity School has been demoralized by the decline of mainline Protestantism. A lack of contact with a living church has led to the almost unconscious but complete alienation of biblical studies from the classical traditions of theological analysis. The resources of Yale provide many opportunities, but the aspiring theologian will need to find a mentor and colleagues to anchor a theological vocation.

In the ninth slot I put Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Once a hotbed of an intellectually formidable process theology, Perkins now suffers from liberal Protestant political correctness. But Bruce Marshall, one of the most important Catholic theologians currently training doctoral students in North America, teaches there, as does William Abraham, a vital Protestant voice in contemporary theology. They make an otherwise uninteresting program a potentially exciting place.

The tenth and final school? Perhaps it’s better to consider up-and-coming programs. Wheaton College, for example, recently launched a doctoral program in theology, hiring Kevin Vanhoozer, perhaps the most interesting contemporary evangelical theologian today. Ave Maria University has a fine faculty and a clear corporate personality as a theology program loyal to the magisterium of the Catholic Church. The University of Dayton recently hired Matthew Levering, thereby strengthening a group of younger scholars who won’t bore smart graduate students with the usual liberal Catholic pieties.

I hope my prejudices are clear. The people under whom and with whom we study do far more to shape our theological vocations than systems such as Barthianism or Thomism and certainly more than the grand reputations of places such as Harvard, Yale, or Berkeley. Good theological formation requires peers and professors who encourage our trust in the essential truth of the Christian tradition. A big library, generous graduate-student stipends, the name recognition of a school—all are empty without this spirit of confidence and commitment.

R.R. Reno is a senior editor at First Things.

[文摘] 美國最佳神學院校排名(2009)

Source: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2009/10/a-2009-ranking-of-graduate-programs-in-theology

Author: R.R. Reno (professor of theology at Creighton University)

簡介:2006年時提出驚人的神學院評比,Russel Reno 在三年後又有新作。他的想法有了些什麼改變呢?三年間學界又發生了什麼震盪呢?



1. 杜克大學神學院

2. 聖母大學神學系

3. 普林斯頓大學宗教系

4. 波士頓學院神學系

5. 三一神學院、美國天主教大學、普林斯頓神學院


1. 杜克大學神學院:Richard Hays成為杜克神學院的新院長。杜克大學的強項是最前線的神學倫理學和由聖經神學支撐的神學思想建構。

2. 聖母大學神學系:在原先的基調上,杜克大學和聖母大學都比06年時更強大了。聖母大學的強項是歷史神學。此外,作為一個研究型大學的整體,聖母大學堅持自己的正統天主教信仰框架更甚杜克大學之於衛理宗信仰,成為他們泛文理學科的精神思想底蘊。

3. 普林斯頓大學宗教系、普林斯頓神學院:普林斯頓大學宗教系和普林斯頓神學院建立了合作關係,懂得利用的人不論讀了哪一所學校,可以在神學中有宗教社會學、在宗教社會學中有神學。

5. 多倫多大學神學院威克理夫學院:多倫多大學神學院得到了Ephraim Radner,威克理夫學院如今是新長成的後自由神學重鎮(「聖公會」為外在形式),並吸引福音派優秀學子前往。

6. 馬奎特大學神學系:馬奎特大學,擁有良好的耶穌會傳統,正向的天主教神學也在勃發。



值得一提的是芝大神學院的Kathryn Tanner在本學年(2010)投回耶魯大學的懷抱了。剛巧現在三所學校在神學哲學上都有思想非常睿智及宏大的教母級人物:哈佛的Diana L. Eck、Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza(注:Sarah Coakley 已經「回去」了劍橋,不過哈佛的女教授比例仍然極高。)、芝加哥的Françoise Meltzer、Susan Schreiner、耶魯的Kathryn Tanner。

戴頓大學(Dayton University)、貝勒大學、南衛理公會大學、加州柏克萊的道明會神學哲學系的優秀學者也被點評。三年前榜上有名的波士頓學院、美國天主教大學、三一福音神學院則被除名。尤其三一,在系統神學名教授Kevin Vanhoozer(06年三一上榜唯一原因)離去後,更是隻字未提。


個人覺得較大的遺珠之憾是惠頓學院(Wheaton College),其近年成立的博士班擁有Douglas Moo 和Kevin Vanhoozer(僅附帶一提,G. K. Beale 轉投西敏神學院。但我不會將他與上兩人並列),且較年輕的學者如Daniel Treier、Timothy Larson 也頭角崢嶸。由於他們給予全額獎學金和積極擔保學生三、四年內畢業,近年收入的博班學生相當優質。培養的學者也是福音派教會的祝福。


至於諸多人感興趣的英國,我認為除了劍橋、牛津陣容龐大而整齊穩居前二之外,聖安得烈(N T Wright; Trevor A. Hart)、杜蘭(Lewis Ayres〔從美國艾墨瑞轉投; J D G Dunn 退休〕 )、亞伯丁(John Webster)、愛丁堡(Oliver O’Donovan)、諾丁漢(John Milbank, Anthony Thiselton)等校各自有名師坐陣且各善勝場,加以學制相當個人化、獎學金寡少,因而排行見仁見智。


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A few years ago, I made a crude and impressionistic ranking of graduate programs in theology in North America. Recently, I mused in a more general way about what makes for a really good program in theology, and, in response, a couple of friends asked me if my old opinions still hold true. It’s a good question, and one I’ll try to answer.

Duke and Notre Dame remain at the top. Indeed, they are stronger than ever, in large part because the longtime Dean of Duke Divinity School, L. Gregory Jones, and the longtime chair of the Notre Dame department of theology, John Cavadini, provide steady leadership. Both men have kept their eyes on the prize: hiring intellectually exciting professors who are committed to students and care deeply about the future of a decidedly orthodox and church-oriented vocation of theological scholarship.

Duke is perhaps the stronger of the two. Stanley Hauerwas exudes intellectual excitement and theological zeal. Reinhard Hütter has a deep knowledge of modern Protestant theology, as well as modern Catholic theology—and unlike so many who teach in Catholic programs, Hütter has not deliberately ignored and forgotten the tremendous riches of the scholastic tradition. Paul Griffiths combines intellectual creativity with scholarly rigor. J. Kameron Carter, Jeremy Begbie, and Amy Laura Hall have vivid and interesting and forceful theological voices. Warren Smith treats the church fathers as living resources for contemporary theology.

There is a further reason why Duke is a remarkable place. In the mid-twentieth century, Karl Rahner pronounced the Bible off limits for theologians. Systematic theologians, he argued, should not presume upon the domain of properly “scientific” historical exegesis. To my mind, this untenable divide between theology and biblical interpretation has crippled both systematic and biblical theology. Duke’s program works against this divide. Richard Hays, Kavin Rowe, Stephen Chapman, and Ellen Davis are biblical scholars who can (and want) to talk to students about Augustine, Aquinas, the Reformers, Karl Barth, and even Karl Rahner. Moreover, Stanley Hauerwas has written a biblical commentary, and Reinhard Hütter and Paul Griffiths are working on commentaries as well. Duke is the ground zero for a restoration of theology to biblical exegesis, and biblical exegesis to theology.

In the past, the main problem with Duke was institutional. The PhD program is run through the Duke University department of religion, and only a couple of students a year were admitted to study theology. A few years ago, however, the Divinity School inaugurated a ThD (doctorate in Theology) program. This means there’s a larger cohort of fellow doctoral students, which enhances the program. Intellectual vitality comes from the give-and-take of smart folks pursuing a common project (and arguing vigorously about the common project), and the more the merrier.

I say that Duke is perhaps stronger, because Notre Dame can make its own claims on preeminence. For any student who wishes to pursue study in historical theology—and wants to do so for the sake of contributing to contemporary discussions and debates—Notre Dame offers some superb professors. Brian Daley and John Cavadini make the Church Fathers sing. In his work on Hegel and Gnosticism, Cyril O’Regan has developed what I think is one of the most sophisticated and insightful theological accounts of modernity. Ann Astell brings out the remarkable theological wisdom of medieval literature. Old Testament scholar Gary Anderson engages the history of theology and interpretation.

In the area of systematic theology, Notre Dame’s theology department is less interesting. The old Liberal Catholic Establishment continues to hold sway, which can lead to a narrow fixation on the old battles of the post-Vatican II generation, as well as the grotesque reduction of modern Catholic theology to the heroic figures of the mid-twentieth century: Bernard Lonergan, Henri de Lubac, Karl Rahner, and the rest. These figures are obviously worth studying, but endlessly teaching the innovators tends to produce students who have little idea of the underlying tradition that made the innovations so important.

One final dimension tilts strongly in Notre Dame’s favor. As a university context for the study of theology (or for that matter any form of Christian scholarship), Duke can’t begin to compete with Notre Dame. The sheer number of very fine faculty committed to the Christian tradition, not only in theology, but also in philosophy, history, literature, and law, is remarkable. Young graduate students should not underestimate the value of this aggregation of Christian commitment and wisdom. It makes for an exciting environment. Students can try on rather than just theorize about the queenly robes of theology.

After Duke and Notre Dame the picture gets muddy. But I’ll try to give a plausible (if very ad hoc) rationale for assessing and ranking some other programs.

My old ranking put Princeton University’s department of religion in the third slot. I’m not sure I was right. Their strengths are significant. Eric Gregory certainly offers students an opportunity to study St. Augustine and other major theological figures. Jeffrey Stout and the rest of the religion department sustain an enviable culture of support and encouragement for graduate students. That counts for a lot in my book.

But the Princeton program focuses on a philosophically, culturally, and historically oriented study of religion. For a student called to a vocation in theology, considering these angles is all for the best. But the problem is that theology as such is marginal in nearly all programs of religion or religious studies, which is why I don’t tend to recommend the University of Virginia or Brown or Columbia or other doctoral programs that might have one or two fine professors. The danger is that a young graduate student will find him or herself slowly socialized into the role of the tentative intellectual outsider who downplays the theological dimension in order to be in on the conversation.
There are, however, good and complicating possibilities at Princeton. (I warned that things get muddy.) In recent years, the religion department and Princeton Theological Seminary (an institution entirely distinct from Princeton University) have established connections. Graduate students at the seminary, which offers a PhD of its own, are now to some degree involved in the religion department, and PhD students in the Religion Department are more likely to be engaged with faculty at the seminary.

Princeton Seminary has a roster of superb theologians, so much so that I consider the PhD program first rate on its own terms. Bruce McCormick, Ellen Charry, George Hunsinger, and a new hire, John Bowlin—one is hard pressed to find more learned and creative contemporary theological minds.
Therefore, an aspiring theologian should think of Princeton as a package and consider both programs—both in the religion department at the University and at Princeton Theological Seminary. If you already have a seminary degree, you might not feel the theological limitations of the religion department so keenly. If you are fresh out of your undergraduate studies, the Seminary PhD program might be better. The Seminary will provide you with theological formation, and then you can branch out and engage the religion department (or philosophy or history) over at the University—and do so as a theologian.

After Princeton—or perhaps on a par with Princeton—I put Wycliffe College and the larger Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto. Ephraim Radner is one of the most important theologians of his generation. His book, The End of the Church, offers theological account of the modern Christian experience unparalleled in depth and insight. Radner now teaches at Wycliffe, along with Joseph Mangina, George Sumner, and Chris Seitz. The species is Anglican, but the genus is post-liberal theology, a church-committed theological vision that is clear minded about the challenges posed by contemporary culture.

Last time I ranked programs, I plugged Boston College. They have lots of money, but I think I was mistaken about the quality of the program. Like so many Jesuit theology departments, Boston College has drifted from the excitement of the post-Vatican II era to the banality of contextual theology. I’m sure a motivated graduate student can get a good education. There are certainly some good professors, such as Khaled Anatolios. But the program as a whole seems complacent. I’m afraid the same is true of Fordham and St. Louis U.

The one Jesuit exception is Marquette, which I put in the fifth slot. Michel Barnes, Alexander Golitzin, and Mickey Mattox are superb historical theologians. Susan Wood, Ralph Del Colle, and Stephen Long provide a great deal in systematic theology. Overall, Marquette seems to have avoided the narrow parochialism of the now old and often narrowly liberal Catholic theology. As a result, the Jesuit tradition of adventuresome intellectual fidelity fits nicely with a graduate program that is interested in the riches of the theological tradition.

University of Chicago, Yale, and Harvard once dominated American Protestant theology. As the social reality of Liberal Protestantism declined, their rationale and coherence melted away. Today, these schools have some good people. Kathryn Tanner at University of Chicago is one of the most gifted formal thinkers currently teaching theology. Jon Levenson at Harvard has a great deal to offer. I admire the theological imagination of Miroslav Volf at Yale. And these schools are housed within world-class universities. That’s worth a lot for students who have the get up and go to make the most out of intellectual opportunities. But I keep coming back to the problem of theological vocation. At Chicago, Yale, and Harvard, orthodox Christian theology is marginal at best.

By contrast, programs at Catholic University or affiliated institutions such as the John Paul II Institute and the Dominican House of Studies exude confidence in the inherent dignity and importance of a vocation of theological scholarship in the service of faith. I often advise prospective graduate students to put some of the options at Catholic University on their lists.

Doubtless there are other schools worth thinking about. The University of Dayton recently hired Matthew Levering, and he ornaments an already attractive faculty. Perhaps the theology program there is on the rise. I’ve long been a big fan of the work of Bruce Marshall at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. Baylor has some excellent people, and their theology program might be worth investigating. Augustine Thompson and Richard Schenk at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at Berkeley would make very fine mentors.

Well, I’ve covered too much ground too quickly, and no doubt too glibly. I hope, however, readers can see my overriding prejudice. Good theological training requires a program animated by a spirit of confidence in the essential truth of the Christian tradition. Theological formation requires mentors whose scholarly gifts are shaped by the task of serving the Church. The intellectual resources and graduate student stipends and academic reputation—all the rest are empty without this spirit of confidence and commitment to the Christian faith.