Graduate Theological & Religious Programs | Hartford Seminary


Hartford Seminary draws Muslim, Christian, Jewish and other students from around the world. Explore our website to learn more. International Peacemaking students visiting the United Nations

The Leader in Graduate Interfaith Education

With roots that go back to 1834, Hartford Seminary is a non-denominational graduate school for religious and theological studies. What makes us unique is our multi-faith environment and our proven ability to prepare leaders for the complex world that surrounds us.

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Hartford Seminary Mourns the Loss of Student Joshua Eargle
The Hartford Seminary community was devastated to learn on Thursday of the passing of Joshua Wayne Eargle, 23, a student in the Master of Arts in Religious Studies program. "Joshua was a beloved student at the Seminary. I experienced this first hand in our Dialogue in a World of Difference class, where he was appreciated by all and dear to me as his professor," President Joel N. Lohr said. "His quiet but warm demeanor, coupled with his intellectual curiosity and smiles from the heart, made him special. I'm deeply saddened by this news. I pray that God brings comfort to his family and friends." Joshua, second from right in the family photo above, lived on campus and befriended students in a variety of Seminary programs. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Presbyterian College with a degree in religion, and quickly applied to a Hartford Seminary master's program. He loved the Seminary's interfaith community and made a point of attending programs that had an interfaith focus. Services for Joshua will be held on Tuesday, July 23, in South Carolina. His obituary can be found at this link.  
State of the Seminary - A Message from President Lohr
Exactly a year ago today was my first scheduled day of work. I woke early, prepared for the day, and walked along the path from our new family home on Lorraine Street to the large white building you all know as Hartford Seminary. As I crossed the road, I glanced to the right and noticed, in broken sunlight, the beautiful stone arches of the UConn Law School, buildings that were once our Seminary’s home. It reminded me of something important, something crucially important, especially when you have a 185-year-old history.Things change. And in that moment it also dawned on me, quite literally, that the role of a president is actually not one of presider. The president needs to be a facilitator and manager of change. How one does those things is key. Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future was the theme we chose for my inauguration event. It struck me as the right message for a seminary like Hartford, one with such a rich history and yet so much room to grow. I can say that this message has animated my work every single day since walking across the street that early July morning. It should come as no surprise that it’s been a year of change - of accomplishments as well as challenges, of joys as well as the occasional sorrow. We have grown as an institution, and I’ve grown as an individual. I wouldn’t trade my job for the world. In the fall, we welcomed an extraordinary group of new and returning students, increasing our enrollment numbers from the previous fall. We also greeted a tremendous cohort of International Peacemaking fellows, held my Inauguration in November, and learned that Hartford Seminary had been awarded a $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to launch an exciting new venture called the Pastoral Innovation Network of New England. It wasn’t long into my role when we witnessed the horrific, hate-filled attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Sadly, I met many leaders and members of our local Jewish communities while speaking at vigils, one of which was especially important for building new relationships. Later in the year I would, again, speak at vigils related to evil attacks motivated by hate-shootings at two mosques in New Zealand and then bombings at Christian churches in Sri Lanka. These events served to reinforce my and the Seminary’s commitment to peacebuilding, religious dialogue, and education - all of which our world so desperately needs. As the year went on, I watched with pride as our faculty presented papers, spoke at institutions around the world, and published books and articles. Hartford Seminary reverberates with the ambitious work of the dedicated scholars who teach here. They make us, and me, very proud. They have become my colleagues, and I’m delighted that we’ve added a number to our ranks this year, including Dr. Bilal Ansari, Dr. Hossein Kamaly, Dr. Suheil Laher, and Dr. Allison Norton as faculty, and Dr. Yahya Michot as Emeritus Professsor. On that note, I would be remiss if I did not also mention our hiring of two important staff members, key members of our Hartsem team: Kaaren Van Dyke in Philanthropy and Aida Mansoor in Islamic Chaplaincy. Everything we do is about our students. When I walk our halls, make my way to and from campus, or teach in the classroom, I get to talk to them and learn about their hopes, struggles, aspirations, and faith. They are guided by a higher calling, and it’s a true gift to witness their lives of grace and be part of their journeys. They are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and other, and they are a beautiful microcosm of the world at large. Their desire to serve a world in need is inspiring. The 2019-20 academic year stretches before us like a blank canvas. New faculty arrive, students will find their way to us (with your recruiting help!), we will hire a VP for Academic Affairs and Administration, and a strategic planning process will begin. There is hard work to do, and anticipation is in the air. Please stay tuned to our news pages and social media platforms this fall to learn about how to be involved in these processes. We’re better because of your help. Peace be with and upon you all, Joel N. Lohr President P.S. If you are ever in the area and enjoy a hike - students, faculty, staff, alumni, all - I regularly head to Talcott Mountain in the early evening to climb it. If you want to join me, drop me a line.
Study Greek in Monthly Translation Sessions
Study the New Testament in Greek  in our monthly translation sessions to enhance understanding of the text. Participants should have basic proficiency in New Testament Greek, but it's okay if you're rusty! This class will get you back in the swing of translation. Classes are taught by Professor Ed Duffy, who also teaches LG-561: Introduction to New Testament Greek and LG-661: Readings in New Testament Greek. Professor Duffy has his Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Foundation. Hartford  Classes meet from 10 a.m. to noon on the third Tuesday of each month at 80 Sherman St. in the building that houses the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Register for the Fall session (five two-hour classes) for $120, or for the Fall and Spring sessions (10 two-hour classes) for $200. Payment is accepted online via credit card. If you prefer to pay by cash or check, please contact Director of Communications Susan Schoenberger at or 860-509-9519. Fall 2019 Sept. 17 Oct. 15 Nov. 19 Dec. 17 Jan. 21(2020) Spring 2020 Feb. 18 March 17 April 21 May 19 June 16 Fairfield Classes for sessions in Fairfield are 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on 1st and 3rd Thursdays at First Presbyterian Church of Fairfield, 2475 Easton Turnpike, Fairfield. Register for the Fall session (10 one-hour classes) for $120, or for both Fall and Spring sessions (20 one-hour classes) for $200. Payment is accepted online via credit card. If you prefer to pay by cash or check, please contact Director of Communications Susan Schoenberger at or 860-509-9519. Fall 2019 Sept. 5 and 19 Oct. 3 and 17 Nov. 7 and 21 Dec. 5 and 19 Jan. 2 and 16 (2019) Spring 2020 Feb. 6 and 20 March 5 and 19 April 2 and 16 May 7 and 21 June 4 and 18  
Hartford Seminary Opens Search for Dean/Vice President
Hartford Seminary is pleased to announce a new position at the Seminary: Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Administration. A national search has been launched with a start date goal of Jan. 1, 2020. The Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton has served as the Seminary’s Interim Academic Dean since July 1, 2018. He worked with President Joel Lohr to develop the new position, one that accurately reflects the position duties and the changing needs of both graduate theological education nationally and those unique to the Seminary. It was mutually agreed that recruiting a new leader will help guide the institution into the next decade, fostering leadership diversity and facilitating strategic growth. President Lohr extends his utmost thanks to Dr. Grafton for his exceptional, dedicated service and is grateful that he will continue to play a crucial leadership role at the Seminary as a Director of the historic MacDonald Center. The Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Administration (DVP) is, after the President, the most senior administrator in the Seminary. Reporting directly to the President and serving as an integral member of the Senior Leadership Team, the DVP will play a significant role as a collaborative, inspirational leader and strategic partner in shaping the future of Hartford Seminary and leading its operations and administration. A good candidate for this position will have a Ph.D. and an academic record to warrant the position of full professor at an accredited graduate school or university, along with at least three years of senior leadership and administration experience. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply. Applicants with scholarly and teaching expertise in Modern Jewish Studies or Islamic Studies are especially encouraged to apply, given institutional needs. Hartford Seminary is deeply committed to diversity and inclusion in all of its activities and hiring, and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. For a complete job description, visit this link.  
Professor Scott Thumma Participates in Pastoral Leadership Gathering at Villanova
Professor Scott Thumma recently participated in the concluding gathering of the National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges for Pastoral Leaders at the Villanova University Church Management Center in Villanova, PA. Professor Thumma and a team of seven other research mentors guided 12 junior faculty in their yearlong research projects on the economic difficulties facing clergy.  During the three-day gathering, Professor Thumma heard stimulating reports on the ways clergy are managing their financial challenges.  This diverse and informative gathering was supported by a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant and was guided by the staff at the Church Management Center.  
Professor Najib George Awad Gives Presentations in Vienna, Amsterdam
The Institute of Byzantine Studies at Vienna University invited Professor Najib George Awad to give a lecture on his new book, Umayyad Christianity: John of Damascus as a Contextual Example of Identity Formation in Early Islam.  His lecture, given on June 25, was titled: Umayyad Christianity: A Book-Talk on Bringing John of Damascus Home. "The lecture ended with a wonderful and very rich Q-and-A round on the book on Christian-Muslim relations dynamic," Professor Awad said. Earlier this month, Professor Awad traveled to Amsterdam to read a paper titled ‘They Are in the World, but not of the World’: Biblical and Contextual Reflections on Church, Alterity and Self-Otherizing for the conference on The Calling of the Church in Times of Polarization organized by the International Reformed Theological Institute (IRTI) in Vrij Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands. [caption id="attachment_19041" align="alignleft" width="1024"] A gathering at the conference in Amsterdam.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_19042" align="alignleft" width="225"] Professor Awad reads his paper in Amsterdam[/caption]  
Book Talk: 'Weathering the Storm' with the Rev. Dr. Tracy Mehr-Muska '17
Please join us to celebrate the publication of the Rev. Dr. Tracy Mehr-Muska's book, Weathering the Storm: Simple Strategies for Being Peaceful and Prepared. This book emerged from the Rev. Dr. Mehr-Muska's doctoral research in Hartford Seminary's Doctor of Ministry program, from which she graduated in 2017. According to the book summary: "This book offers simple and proven strategies to develop resilience that will be of enormous benefit to anyone who is yearning to feel more peaceful and prepared. ... Weathering the Storm also poses insightful questions for reflection and offers concrete strategies for implementation that can be used individually or in group contexts such as faith communities, families, and therapeutic relationships. Just as we practice fire drills before a fire happens, this book will help us be better equipped for the eventual storms of life so we can live with greater peace and preparedness."     About the Author The Rev. Tracy Mehr-Muska, DMin, is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).  She is a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and has served as an interfaith chaplain in a psychiatric hospital, men’s prison, trauma hospital, and hospice. She currently serves as a University Chaplain at Wesleyan University, where she provides one-on-one spiritual and emotional support to students of any or no faith background and develops programs and events to help students grow spiritually, emotionally, and psychosocially.  As part of her doctoral research at Hartford Seminary, Rev. Mehr-Muska developed a curriculum for building resilience designed for interfaith audiences and currently leads interfaith retreats and workshops. Before entering Princeton Theological Seminary to pursue her call to ministry, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine and Environmental Sciences, served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, and worked as a marine scientist in the private sector.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, sewing, jogging, and spending time with her husband and two children.
Boundless: A Celtic Vision of the Sacred in All Things with John Philip Newell
Please join us for this special opportunity to hear from John Philip Newell, internationally acclaimed Celtic teacher from Edinburgh and the celebrated author of Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality, as well as founder of the School of Celtic Consciousness. Celtic Spirituality celebrates the essential sacredness of all things. It remembers John the Beloved as leaning against Jesus at the Last Supper. It was said of him in the Celtic world that he, therefore, heard the heartbeat of God. He became a symbol of the practice of listening, listening deep within ourselves, deep within one another, and deep within the Earth and every creature and life form. We will explore the implications of listening for the Sacred at the heart of each moment. John Philip Newell is one of the most prominent Christian teachers of spirituality in the Western world and has authored over 15 books, including Christ of the Celts, Praying with the Earth, A New Harmony, and his most recent visionary title The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings.  This free event is co-sponsored by First Church of West Hartford and Saint John's Episcopal Church of West Hartford.         Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility for all. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at or 860-509-9519 at least 3 days in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this event.
Divine Words, Female Voices with Dr. Jerusha T. Rhodes
Our biennial Willem A. Bijlefeld Lecture will be given by Dr. Jerusha T. Rhodes, Associate Professor of Islam & Interreligious Engagement at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Rhodes will discuss her new book – Divine Words, Female Voices: Muslima Explorations in Comparative Feminist Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018) – which argues that interreligious feminist engagement is both a theologically valid endeavor and a vital resource for Muslim women scholars. She will discuss how comparative feminist theology leads to new, constructive Muslima and Islamic feminist positions on topics including revelation, scripture, feminist exemplars, theological anthropology, and ritual practice. The Willem A. Bijlefeld Lecture is named after the first director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. It brings a distinguished scholar to campus for a public presentation on Islam or Christian-Muslim relations to promote interreligious understanding and mutual respect in the local, national and world communities. Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility for all. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at or 860-509-9519 at least 3 days in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this event. About the Speaker Jerusha T. Rhodes is Associate Professor of Islam & Interreligious Engagement at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Her research focuses on theologies of religious pluralism, comparative theology, and Muslima theology. She also serves at the Director of Union’s Islam, Social Justice, and Interreligious Engagement (ISJIE) Program. Dr. Rhodes earned a Ph.D. in Theological and Religious Studies with a focus on Religious Pluralism at Georgetown University in 2011. She also received an M.A. in Islamic Sciences at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, and an M.A. in Theological and Religious Studies at Georgetown University. Before joining the Union faculty in July of 2012, she was Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology at Georgetown University. Dr. Rhodes’ first book, Never Wholly Other: A Muslima Theology of Religious Pluralism (Oxford University Press, March 2014), explores the Qur’anic discourse on religious ‘otherness’. In this book, she draws upon feminist theology and semantic methodology to re-interpret the Qur’anic discourse and challenge notions of clear and static religious boundaries by distinguishing between and illuminating the complexity of multiple forms of religious difference. Her second book, Divine Words, Female Voices: Muslima Explorations in Comparative Feminist Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018), uses the approach of comparative feminist theology to engage diverse Muslim and Christian feminist, womanist, and mujerista voices. It argues for the value of comparative feminist theological engagement and proposes constructive Muslima insights relating to Divine revelation; textual hermeneutics of the hadith and Bible; Prophet Muhammad and Mary as feminist exemplars; theological anthropology; and ritual prayer, tradition, and change.  
Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the Language of Scripture
Hear from top scholars on the language of Scripture in this special Hartford Seminary symposium. Faith, Belief, and a Compassionate Response: What it Means to be a Neighbor Father Joseph Cheah University of Saint Joseph The word “compassion” comes from the Hebrew word, rehem, which means a mother’s womb. To be compassionate is to have a deep feeling a woman has for the child that comes forth from her womb. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, it was the good Samaritan who exemplified this sort of compassion by offering liberating assistance to the half-dead man on the side of the road. Using Harvey Cox’s thesis of the primacy of faith over belief, Father Cheah will examine what this good Samaritan, a foreigner and a racialized other, teaches us about what it means to be neighbor and exemplifies for us the value of strangers in our midst. Dr. Deena Grant Exploring Jewish and Christian Translations of Scripture: Practical Applications Is translation interpretation? We will explore together ways that translation can influence meaning by discussing a variety of diverse translations of the identical Scripture passages. The Book of Job, Islamic Thought and the Gospels Dr. Steven Blackburn Retired from Hartford Seminary As a rising tide of Islamization began to engulf both Jews and Christians in Mesopotamia by the mid 8th century C.E., interpreters of Jewish scripture presented their writings in ways that were accessible to Muslims through preferences for vocabulary with an Qur’anic cast.  The translation of Pethion ibn Ayyub of the Book of Job betrays not only affinities to Islamic thought but simultaneously attempts to harmonize Job’s teaching with portions of the Gospels. Does Everyone in Heaven Speak Arabic? Dr. Suheil Laher Adjunct Professor at Hartford Seminary 'When God is angry, He sends revelation in Arabic. When He is pleased, He sends revelation in Persian.' What might have led someone to claim the Prophet Muhammad had said these words? The Qur'an is central to Islamic belief and practice, as God's words. But what exactly is meant by the phrase, “God's words.” Is Arabic “the language of God”? And if so, how much leeway is there for prayer and sermons to be in other languages? Will everyone in Heaven speak Arabic? Dr. Laher will discuss these theological and ritual questions, and how they impacted and were impacted by socio-political factors.
Hartford Seminary became the first seminary in America to open its doors to women, in 1889.
In 1902, Hartford Seminary was a founding member of the American Association of Schools of Religious Education.
The first American center for the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations opened at Hartford Seminary in 1973.
In 1990, Hartford Seminary became the first nondenominational theological institution in North America to name a female president.
Naming a Muslim to the core faculty was a first for nondenominational theological institutions in North America in 1991.
Hartford Seminary established the first Islamic Chaplaincy Program in America in 2001.
The first chair of Shi’i Studies in North America launched at Hartford Seminary in 2015.

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