Theologian Stanley Hauerwas Drops Out of Lecture Series Amid General Theological Seminary Controversy

Theologian Stanley Hauerwas has decided to not to give a series of lectures he was supposed to give at General Theological Seminary. Photo © Duke University, Photography by Jim Wallace
Theologian Stanley Hauerwas has decided to not to give a series of lectures he was supposed to give at General Theological Seminary. Photo © Duke University, Photography by Jim Wallace

Theologian Stanley Hauerwas has declined a series of lectures he was scheduled to give at New York’s General Theological Seminary in November in the wake of the crisis roiling the school.

On Wednesday (Oct. 8), the Christian ethicist said he does not want to get in the middle of a controversy involving the resignations or firings of eight faculty.

Two weeks ago, the eight faculty members quit teaching classes and attending official seminary meetings or chapel services until they could sit down with the Board of Trustees.

Hauerwas, who is professor emeritus of divinity and law at Duke Divinity School, said he pulled out of the lecture series so he would not appear to take a side.

“I was looking forward to going because I’ve known of General for my whole academic life, but I had never been there. At one time, it represented a commitment to an Anglo-Catholic tradition with which I’m very sympathetic,” said Hauerwas, who attends an Episcopal church in Chapel Hill, N.C. “I think the situation is one of deep pathos; it’s just pathetic. I’m sorry that I’ve gotten caught in it.”

GTS, the flagship seminary that has produced generations of bishops and noted theologians, is the only Episcopal seminary overseen by the national church.

“It’s been the seminary of record for the national church,” Hauerwas said. “Symbolically what’s happening there has reverberations throughout the church. I think that’s the primary reason people are taken aback by the fact that in some ways what has happened is the death toll of General Seminary. What student is going to go there?”

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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Sarah Pulliam Bailey

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