Richard B. Hays has been
appointed to a full term as dean of Duke Divinity School, a role he assumed on
a two-year basis in August 2010, President Richard H. Brodhead and Provost
Peter Lange announced Monday.
Hays, the George
Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, is
a scholar of the letters of Paul and on New Testament ethics. His work has
bridged the disciplines of biblical criticism and literary studies, exploring
the innovative ways in which early Christian writers interpreted Israel's
Hays' appointment as
the school's 12th dean comes after a
six-month national search.
"I am very pleased that
Richard has agreed to a full term as dean," Lange said. "He has already led the Divinity School in
exciting directions and has implemented new programs with skill and
finesse. Richard's leadership of the
faculty in a period of change will be particularly welcome, as will his strong
and collegial relationships with his fellow deans."
Brodhead added: "Richard
Hays embodies the union of faith and knowledge that lies at the heart of the
Divinity School's mission. He has led
the school's broad work of scholarship and spiritual training with wisdom,
devotion and imagination. Duke is lucky to have him continue his service in
this key role."
Hays came to Duke in 1991
from the faculty of the Yale Divinity School, where he earlier received a Master
of Divinity degree. He earned a Ph.D. at Emory University. His book, "The
Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation," was
selected by Christianity Today as one of the 100 most important religious books
of the 20th century. His other influential books include "Echoes of
Scripture in the Letters of Paul" and "The Conversion of the
Imagination." He has lectured widely in North America, Europe, Israel,
Australia and New Zealand.
"Duke Divinity School
combines world-leading scholarly excellence in theological studies with a
strong commitment to the training of ministerial leadership for the
church. No other theological school in
the world so compellingly unites learning, faith and service," Hays said. "It is a great honor to be invited by
President Brodhead and Provost Lange to continue to serve as dean. In community with our superb faculty, staff
and students, I will do everything I can to lead the Divinity School forward
faithfully and imaginatively."
Ellen Davis, the Amos
Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, chaired
the 13-person search committee whose members were drawn from the Divinity School
faculty, other university faculty, Duke's board and administration, the United
Methodist Church and Duke Chapel.
we had some truly excellent candidates, we came to the conclusion after much
deliberation and prayer that the best choice for the Divinity School at this
time is the person who has been serving as dean for the past two years," Davis
said. "Richard has brought both
innovation and stability to the Divinity School during an important transition,
and he is an energetic advocate for the centrality of theological education
within the larger ministry of the church. He is also an exemplary university
citizen who has embraced and advanced the school's many connections to other
parts of Duke, as well as to the wider community.
Richard was not initially a candidate, when we saw clearly the most crucial
needs of the school at this moment, we asked him to reconsider, feeling
strongly that his vision and experience are what we have been seeking."
An ordained United
Methodist minister, Hays has preached in settings ranging from rural Oklahoma
churches to London's Westminster Abbey. He has chaired the Pauline Epistles
Section of the Society of Biblical Literature as well as the Seminar on New
Testament Ethics in the Society for New Testament Studies, and has served on
the editorial boards of several leading scholarly journals. As dean, he succeeded
L. Gregory Jones, who served from 1997-2010.
Founded in 1926 as the first of Duke's graduate
professional schools, the Divinity School attracts students from around the
world. One of 13 seminaries founded and supported by the United Methodist
Church, it offers two doctoral and five master's level degrees, as well as dual-degree programs with
social work and law.