Divinity school

School Notes: Yale Divinity School
January/February 2019

Gregory E. Sterling | http://divinity.yale.edu

Portrait honors history of Yale’s first black student

In the 1830s, James W. C. Pennington became the first African American to attend classes at Yale. He audited classes at the Divinity School despite not being allowed to officially enroll or speak in class. As part of the Divinity School’s effort to recover and honor the story of this important abolitionist and minister, and to acknowledge his voice and presence, YDS commissioned an original oil portrait of him for display in its Common Room, among other portraits of historically significant professors and deans. Painted by Brooklyn-based artist Jas Knight,the portrait was unveiled to great applause at a heavily attended event on October 10. A second ceremony was held the next week for alumni attending Convocation & Reunions. Speaking at the latter, Paul Daniels ’19MDiv said, “When I consider the materiality of oil on canvas and I consider who James Pennington was, I cannot think of a more appropriate artistic medium and memorial for these hallowed halls.”

YDS magazine brings theological, moral lens to #MeToo

The fall 2018 issue of the Divinity School magazine, Reflectionsgoes to the heart of a controversy convulsing the nationthe seismic changes around sexual ethics and power. A year after the #MeToo movement triggered rebellion against the acceptance of sexual abuse by powerful men, “Sex, Gender, Power: A Reckoning” examines theological dimensions of a multifaceted historic moment that is forcing a new moral accounting in churches and galvanizing electoral politics. Editor Ray Waddle said it was important that the journal step into this urgent and unfolding debate about sexual ethics and power. “#MeToo is triggering renegotiations of power at work, at church, in politics, in theology,” Waddle said. “We hope this fall issue offers viewpoints that many readers might not ordinarily see.”

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