Kathryn Tanner named Frederick Marquand Professor of Systematic Theology

Kathryn Tanner '79 B.A., '85 Ph.D., who joined the Yale Divinity School faculty in July, has been named the Frederick Marquand Professor of Systematic Theology by action of the Yale Corporation.

Tanner“Kathryn Tanner is a splendid appointment for the Marquand Chair of Theology at Yale Divinity School,” said Dean Harold Attridge.  “Her abilities as a constructive theologian have been recognized by awards such as the Luce Fellowship, which supports her research this year, and by the recent invitation to deliver the prestigious Gifford lectures in 2015-16. She is an outstanding leader in the field and we are honored to have her in this chair.”

Endowed chairs such as the Marquand professorship are awarded on the basis of scholarly excellence and are among the highest honors the University can bestow on a member of the faculty.  The previous holder of the chair was Thomas Ogletree, who was the Frederick Marquand Professor of Ethics and Religious Studies.

Tanner was chosen just last month to deliver the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 2015-16.  While she joined the YDS faculty in July, Tanner is on leave of absence during the 2010-11 academic year as a Luce Fellow, conducting research on financial capitalism and Christian belief and practices.

The Marquand Professorship is supported through a fund that was established in 1884 with a bequest of $50,000 from Frederick Marquand of Southport, CT, a prominent New York jeweler.

According to terms of the will, the fund was to be used in support of a professorship, “in the cause of education and the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in encouraging and airing any good work either in our own country or in foreign lands.”

Marquand also contributed money toward YDS dormitories, the library, and the YDS chapel—then on Elm Street but which today, still bearing his name, is located at the Divinity School’s current location on Prospect Street.

A proponent of “constructive theology,” Tanner’s research focuses on how Christian thought might be brought to bear on contemporary issues of theological concern using social, cultural and feminist theory.

Tanner, who graduated summa cum laude from Yale College, served on the faculty of the University of Chicago Divinity School for 15 years, which followed more than a decade of teaching in Yale’s Department of Religious Studies and at Yale Divinity School.

Tanner’s most recent books are Christ the Key (Cambridge, 2010) and Economy of Grace (Fortress, 2005).  Her other books include God and Creation in Christian Theology: Tyranny or Empowerment? (Blackwell, 1988); Politics of God: Christian Theologies and Social Justice (Fortress, 1992); Theories of Culture: A New Agenda for Theology (Fortress, 1997); and Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity (Fortress, 2001).  She is the author of scores of scholarly articles and chapters in books that include The Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology, which she edited with John Webster and Iain Torrance.

She has served on the editorial boards of Modern Theology, the International Journal of Systematic Theology, and the Scottish Journal of Theology, and is a former co-editor of the Journal of Religion. Active in many professional societies, she is a past president of the American Theological Society, the oldest theological society in the United States. An Episcopalian, for eight years she has been a member of the Episcopal Church’s Theology Committee, which advises the Episcopal House of Bishops.

Posted: 01/01/2011