David N. Hempton, Dean

David N. Hempton, Dean

Dean of the Faculty of Divinity
Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies
John Lord O'Brian Professor of Divinity
David N. Hempton, Dean


  • BA, Queen's University (Belfast)
  • PhD, University of St. Andrews


David Hempton is the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies, John Lord O’Brian Professor of Divinity, and Dean of Harvard Divinity School. He has taught at Harvard since 2007 where he moved from his position as University Professor at Boston University. He was appointed Dean of the Faculty of HDS in 2012. Hempton is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and former Professor of Modern History and Director of the School of History in the Queen’s University of Belfast. 

In October 2021, Hempton was the featured speaker for the Gifford Lectures, one of the most prestigious honors in Scottish academia. His series of lectures is titled “Networks, Nodes, and Nuclei in the History of Christianity, c. 1500 – 2020.” See "HDS Dean Hempton to Deliver Prestigious Gifford Lectures" for links to the lecture texts and recordings.

Hempton is a former chairman of the Wiles Trust 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 in the United States. He has lectured extensively in Europe, the United States and beyond, and delivered many sets of 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 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 prestigious teaching awards at both Boston University and Harvard.

Hempton has published over a hundred articles and book chapters, and many books, including Methodism and Politics in British Society 1750-1850 (Stanford University Press, 1984), winner of the Whitfield prize of the Royal Historical Society; “Methodism in Irish Society,” proxime accessit for the Alexander 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), The Church in the Long Eighteenth Century (I. B. Tauris, 2011), winner of the Albert C. Outler Prize of the American Society of Church History; and (with Hugh McLeod ed.), Secularization and Religious Innovation in the North Atlantic World (Oxford University Press, 2017). In 2013, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Literature by Queen’s University Belfast for services to History and Divinity.  In 2020 he was elected Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy.

Selected publications


Bernadette Emmons Holder

See also

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