A Theologian’s Journey
Author: John Dillenberger
John Dillenberger once mused that theological education was at its best when students at Union Theological Seminary in New York, who encountered Paul Tillich and Rheinhold Niebuhr talking in the corridor, could eavesdrop on their conversations. Now Dillenberger opens the doors to the many hallowed halls, classrooms, board rooms, presidents’ offices, and art museums in which he has worked and conducts a candid, yet ever-gracious, tour. Like Rembrandt, he shines a revealing light on the faces of colleagues and detractors, not forgetting his own, and is forthcoming about the interplay of light and shadow in those images. Infusing every reflection is Dillenberger’s debt for the gift that Tillich gave him as a young scholar – accepting that you are accepted, “a gift in which all is transformed, and in which one has the courage to be.”
John Dillenberger was Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He was instrumental in forming the Graduate Theological Union which he headed during its first decade, first as Dean from 1964-1969 and then, from 1967 to 1972, as its first president, a post to which he returned in 1999-2000. He also served as President of Hartford Seminary, Dean of the Faculty at San Francisco Theological Seminary, Chair of the Program in History and Philosophy at Harvard University, and as President of the American Academyof Religion. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, he was a Chaplain in the United States Navy during WWII. He is the author of many books, including Benjamin West, The Visual Arts and Christianity in America, and Images and Relics: Theological Perceptions and Visual Images in Sixteenth Century Europe.