Diane L. Moore

Diane L. Moore

Faculty Director, Religion and Public Life
Lecturer in Religion, Conflict, and Peace
Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions
Diane Moore / Photo by Justin Knight


  • MDiv, Harvard Divinity School
  • DMin, Episcopal Divinity School
  • PhD, Union Theological Seminary


Diane L. Moore is the founding faculty director of Religion and Public Life at Harvard Divinity School, a Lecturer on Religion, Conflict, and Peace at Harvard Divinity School, a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions, and a Faculty Affiliate of the Middle East Initiative and the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. She focuses her research on enhancing the public understanding of religion from the lens of critical theory.

In her role as Faculty Director of Religion and Public Life, she oversees the two main RPL programs: the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative and the Religious Literacy and the Professions Initiative. She collaborated with colleagues at Oxfam on the Religious Literacy and Humanitarian Action Research Project which was funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. The report, entitled Local Humanitarian Leadership and Religious Literacy (PDF), can be read online. She also served on a task force at the US State Department in the Office of Religion and Global Affairs in the Obama Administration to enhance training about religion for Foreign Service officers and other State Department personnel.

In 2021, Moore was invited by the Vatican to serve on a four person team of international scholars to consult on drafting the vision statement for the University of Meaning, a new project initiated by Pope Francis. 

Moore created a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) through HarvardX entitled Religion, Conflict and Peace in 2018 that is updated and relaunched every year. She is also the lead scholar for the seven module MOOC through HarvardX entitled World Religions Through Their Scriptures and the professor for the first module in the series entitled Religious Literacy: Traditions and Scriptures

Regarding her work promoting religious literacy, Moore served as co-chair along with Eugene Gallagher of a five-year initiative of the American Academy of Religion to establish Religious Literacy Guidelines published in 2020 for what graduates of two and four-year degree programs in the US should know about religion. She also chaired the American Academy of Religion's Task Force on Religion in the Schools, which conducted a three-year initiative to establish guidelines for teaching about religion in K-12 public schools (PDF) that were published in 2010, and was on the writing committee for the new National Council for the Social Studies supplement to the College, Career, and Civic Life Framework (C3) document on Religious Studies. Her book Overcoming Religious Illiteracy: A Cultural Studies Approach to the Study of Religion in Secondary Education was published by Palgrave in 2007. She serves on the editorial boards of the journals CrossCurrents, and Religion and Education.

Moore regularly receives commendations for outstanding teaching from Harvard Extension School, and in 2014, she received the Petra Shattuck Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2014 she also received the Griffiths award from the Connecticut Council for Interfaith Understanding for her work promoting the public understanding of religion. In 2005–06 she was one of two professors chosen by Harvard Divinity School students as HDS Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Moore was also on the faculty at Phillips Andover Academy in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies until 2013. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Selected publications

  • "Ethical Precarity and Staying with the Trouble" in Contending Modernities (June 29, 2021)
  • Local Humanitarian Leadership and Religious Literacy” (RLP and Oxfam, 2017)
  • Overcoming Religious Illiteracy: A Cultural Studies Approach to the Study of Religion in Secondary Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)
  • “From Smith to Hobby Lobby: The Transformation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (with Eric Stephen) in Holly Fernandez Lynch, I. Glenn Cohen, and Elizabeth Sepper, eds., Law, Religion and Health in the United States (Cambridge University Press, 2017)
  • “Religion and Education” (with James Fraser) in John L. Rury and Eileen H. Tamura, eds., The Oxford Handbook of History of Education (Oxford University Press, 2019)
  • “Diminishing Religious Illiteracy: Methodological Assumptions and Analytical Frameworks for Promoting the Public Understanding of Religion” in Adam Dinham and Matthew Francis, eds., Religious Literacy in Secular Society: Theories, Policies and Practices (Policy Press, 2015)
  • “Teaching About the Bible in Public Schools: A Religious Studies Framework” in Melissa Deckman and Joseph Prud’homme, eds., Curriculum in the Culture Wars (Peter Lang, 2014)
  • “High Stakes Ignorance: Religion, Education, and the Unwitting Reproduction of Bigotry” in Vincent Biondo and Andrew Fiala, eds., Civility, Religious Pluralism, and Education (Routledge, 2014)

Related RPL news


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See also

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Contact Information

Divinity 206
p: 617.495.3854


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