Religion: Harvard Steps Out

Harvard College was built around a sturdy religious core. Its Puritan founders, "dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches," dedicated their new school to supplying an intelligent one. The first endowed Harvard professorship (established in 1721) was a chair of divinity.

In 1816, when the Divinity School became a separate department of the university, it began with a faculty of President John T. Kirkland and four professors.

After 136 years, the Harvard Divinity School now has only three full-time professors, including its dean, 79-year-old Willard Sperry, who is also Harvard's "chaplain."...

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