Episcopal Divinity School

Episcopal Divinity School

Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) is an Episcopal seminary in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offering Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and Doctor of Ministry degrees. It was founded in 1974 by the union of the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge with the Philadelphia Divinity School.


The Philadelphia Divinity School, founded in 1858, had been well-regarded for its pioneering efforts in the development of the study of pastoral theology. It was among the first seminaries of the Episcopal Church to admit African-American students and allow them to live in residence. PDS was also the first Episcopal seminary to train women for ministry.

The Episcopal Theological School, founded 1867, was established by Episcopalians as a balance to the Unitarianism favored at Harvard University. It became well-known for its academic rigor and pioneering efforts in the area of biblical criticism.

In 1975, the newly merged EDS hired two of the first 11 women irregularly ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church as faculty. The School has since become well-known as a center for the study of feminist theology, with several major feminist theologians having served on the faculty: Carter Heyward, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Katie Geneva Canon, and Kwok Pui Lan. EDS tends to be socially liberal, particularly with regards to the inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the priesthood. E. Otis Charles, former bishop of Utah and dean of the school from 1985-1993, came out as a gay man following his retirement from EDS. The current dean of EDS is also a bishop, the Rt. Rev. Stephen Charleston, former bishop of Alaska. A Native American, Bishop Charleston is the first person of color to lead an Episcopal seminary.

EDS has a strong relationship with Harvard Divinity School, including a cross-registration program.

Notable professors

* Joseph Fletcher, founder of situational ethics.
* John Coburn, former bishop of Massachusetts
* Suzanne R. Hiatt, organizer of women's ordination
* Carter Heyward, lesbian feminist theologian
* Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, leading feminist biblical scholar
* Kwok Pui Lan, Chinese feminist theologian
* Charles Bennison, current bishop of Pennsylvania

Notable alumni

* "Episcopal Theological School"
** Arthur Lichtenburger, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
** Henry Knox Sherrill, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
** Paul Van Buren, Death of God Theologian
** Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Civil Rights Martyr (died before graduation)
** Carol Gallagher, First Native Woman Bishop
** The Rt. Reverend Geralyn Wolf, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island

* "Philadelphia Divinity School"
** Wallace E. Conkling, late Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago

External links

* [http://www.eds.edu/ Episcopal Divinity School homepage]

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