Drew Theological School Professor Named Henry Luce Fellow
Catherine Keller is one of just six fellows.
February 2017 – Catherine Keller, professor of constructive theology at Drew Theological School and Drew’s graduate division of religion, earned a Henry Luce III fellowship in theology for 2017–2018.
The fellowship, which is awarded by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, enables professors to conduct creative and innovative research and is among the most prestigious awards in theological education.
Keller, one of just six fellows, will embark on a year of research that will begin in January 2018 and culminate in the publication of her seventh book, Apocalypse After All? The new book will build upon her 1996 work, Apocalypse Now & Then: A Feminist Approach to the End of the World, updating it in the context of today’s entangled ecology of politics, economics, migration, race, religion and, importantly, climate change.
“As a constructive theologian, my work focuses on social and ecological justice, post-structuralist theory and feminist readings of scripture and theology. Through my fellowship and book, I will be looking to foster responsiveness in religious constituencies—as well as among a wider, spiritually alert public—to the present earth crisis,” Keller said. “And this will be a less theoretical, punchier, shorter book than my prior ones.”
Keller added that the new work will not serve as a “doom and gloom” prophecy. Rather, she aims to help others confidently, collectively and divergently shift from the doom of closure to the hope of dis/closure, which is the etymology of apokalypsis. “The Bible names no ‘end of the world,'” Keller noted. “Apocalypse serves to open the chance of the catastrophic becoming the catalyst.”
Big picture, the professor hopes to focus attention on the unprecedented threat of global warming, underscore that material science is linked to all that matters, stir imaginative energy and build a coalition from a theological standpoint.
Keller is among the Theological School’s most prolific scholars. Beyond her books, she has edited seven volumes about the seminary’s highly-regarded Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquium, now in its sixteenth year. She started teaching at Drew in 1986.
Keller recently presented the 2017 Taylor Lectures at Yale Divinity School. Her three lectures explored the topic of “Political Theology of the Earth.” To view the lectures, go to Part One. The Political: Sovereign Exception or Collective Inception; Part Two. The Earth: Climate of Closure, Matter of Disclosure; Part Three. The Theology: Kairos of Endless Entanglement.