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David Hempton

David Hempton David Hempton  Ph. D.
Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies
Harvard Divinity School
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What does working with the Center mean to you?

I am particularly interested in helping the Center mobilize support from religious traditions in the United States and beyond. They often have deep resources within their own traditions relating to health and environmental care, and have considerable reach into populations across the world.


David Hempton is the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies and the John Lord O’Brian Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. He has taught at Harvard since 2007, having moved there from Boston University, where he was University Professor and Professor of the History of Christianity. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and former Professor of Modern History, and Director of the School of History in the Queen’s University of Belfast. He is a former chairman of the Wiles Trust, which was founded in 1951 by Sir Herbert Butterfield to promote innovative thinking on the history of civilization, broadly conceived. He has held fellowships from the Wolfson and Nuffield Foundations in the United Kingdom and the National Endowment of the Humanities. He has lectured extensively in Europe and the United States, and has delivered many endowed lectures, including the Cadbury Lectures at the University of Birmingham, the F. D. Maurice Lectures at King’s College London, and the Tate-Willson Lectures at Southern Methodist University.

He has research and teaching interests are in religion and political culture; religious identities and ethnic conflicts; the interdisciplinary study of lived religion; the history and theology of Evangelical Protestantism and Pentecostalism; the global history of Christianity since 1500; and religious disenchantment and secularization. He has won teaching awards at both Boston University and Harvard.

His publications include Methodism and Politics in British Society 1750-1850 (Stanford University Press, 1984), winner of the Whitfield prize of the Royal Historical Society (with M. Hill); Evangelical Protestantism in Ulster Society 1740-1890 (Routledge, 1992); Religion and Political Culture in Britain and Ireland: From the Glorious Revolution to the Decline of Empire (Cambridge University Press, 1996), short-listed for the Ewart-Biggs Memorial prize; The Religion of the People: Methodism and Popular Religion c. 1750-1900 (Routledge, 1996); ‘Faith and Enlightenment’ in The Short Oxford History of the British Isles (Oxford University Press, 2002); Methodism: Empire of the Spirit (Yale University Press, 2005), winner of the Jesse Lee prize; Evangelical Disenchantment: Nine Portraits of Faith and Doubt (Yale University Press, 2008), and The Church in the Long Eighteenth Century (I. B. Tauris, 2011).

He is currently engaged in a comparative study of secularization in Europe and North America from the eighteenth century to the present.