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David Bartlett and David Kelsey Swap Lighthearted Appraisals

Two Davids, both great teachers, retiring on exactly the same day after many years on the Yale Divinity School faculty, wonderful friends, mentors to many a student, and possessed of the ability to laugh at themselves. What better circumstance than to invite David Kelsey and David Bartlett to take a (slightly humorous) look at each other, in public, on the eve of their July 1 retirements? That is precisely what happened at the annual Yale Divinity School spring faculty dinner on May 3, 2005. Each spoke briefly, yet eloquently, about the other—and entertained the audience as well. Kelsey, the Luther A. Weigel Professor of Theology, began teaching at Yale Divinity School in 1965. Bartlett, the Lantz Professor of Preaching and Communication, who is taking a position at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, came to Yale Divinity School in 1990.

Kelsey says of Bartlett, “The plot of the narrative outlined by David's CV is driven by a stubborn struggle against the power of academic specializations to divide what many of us believe God has joined together, disciplined study of Scripture and the actual practice of preaching.”

Bartlett says of Kelsey, "To Understand God Truly is the title of David's book on theological education, and part of what we cherish about him is that rare insistence that the true love of God must always include love of the truth. That passion is evident in every book and article David writes, in every class he teaches, and in his persistent, 40-year, nagging insistence that this school exists always and only for the loving service of God.”

Click here to view the entire texts of Kelsey on Bartlett and Bartlett on Kelsey.