Mark Jordan Selected as Luce Fellow in Theology for 2011-12

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Mark D. Jordan, Richard Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School (HDS), has been named one of seven Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology for 2011-12. The announcement was made in February by the Association of Theological Schools.

In his year-long Luce project, Jordan plans to write a book on Thomas Aquinas’ teaching about the dependence of Christian ethics on incarnation and sacrament.

“The book will offer a new reading of the structure of his great Summa,” Jordan said, “but it is more concerned to make constructive use of his argument that Christ’s passion extends into sacraments as vivid teaching for embodied souls that have made themselves savage. This account of embodied divine pedagogy not only speaks to contemporary programs of Christian ethics, it suggests more concrete ways of conceiving ethical formation within the church—that is, within a community of scriptural and sacramental enactment.”

The goal of the project, titled “Incarnation, Sacrament, and Christian Character in Aquinas,” is to discover new models for understanding incarnation and sacrament as effective scenes of Christian moral formation, according to Jordan.

“While I hope that the book will be of interest to specialists in Aquinas and medieval theology, I am more concerned to enter contemporary debates about the relation between Christian worship and Christian ethical persuasion,” explained Jordan. “I return to Thomas’ classic argument about the ethical need for incarnation and sacrament not so much to save it from misunderstandings as to reconstruct in modern idiom its main account of how human lives can be reshaped into Christian characters that are lived out across time.”

Established in 1993, the Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology program is supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, honoring Henry Luce III. The Association of Theological Schools, located in Pittsburgh, is the accrediting and program agency for graduate theological education in North America.