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Princeton Theological Seminary
Parts of this article (those related to 12 biographies of key Princeton Theological Seminary are missing) need to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(November 2019)
In the 1980s, Princeton Seminary enrolled about 900 students but today, the Seminary enrolls approximately 365 students. While around 40 percent of them are candidates for ministry specifically in the Presbyterian Church, the majority are completing such candidature in other denominations, pursuing careers in academia across a number of different disciplines, or receiving training for other, non-theological fields altogether.
The plan to establish a theological seminary in Princeton was in the interests of advancing and extending the theological curriculum. The educational intention was to go beyond the liberal arts course by setting up a postgraduate, professional school in theology. The plan met with enthusiastic approval on the part of authorities at the College of New Jersey, later to become Princeton University, for they were coming to see that specialized training in theology required more attention than they could give. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church established The Theological Seminary at Princeton, New Jersey in 1812, with the support of the directors of the nearby College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), as the second graduate theological school in the United States. The Seminary remains an institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), being the largest of the ten theological seminaries affiliated with the 1.6-million-member denomination.
In 1812, the seminary boasted three students and Archibald Alexander as its first professor. By 1815 the number of students had gradually increased and work began on a building: Alexander Hall was designed by John McComb Jr., a New York architect, and opened in 1817. The original cupola was added in 1827, but it burned in 1913 and was replaced in 1926. The building was simply called "Seminary" until 1893, when it was officially named Alexander Hall. Since its founding, Princeton Seminary has graduated approximately 14,000 men and women who have served the church in many capacities, from pastoral ministry and pastoral care to missionary work, Christian education and leadership in the academy and business.
Dual MDiv/MA in Christian Education with foci in Youth & Young Adults, Teaching Ministry, or Spiritual Development
Dual MDiv/MSW in partnership with Rutgers School of Social Work
The Princeton Seminary Library is a destination for visiting scholars from around the world. The library has over 1,252,503 bound volumes, pamphlets, and microfilms. It currently receives about 2,100 journals, annual reports of church bodies and learned societies, bulletins, transactions, and periodically issued indices, abstracts, and bibliographies. The Libraries are:
According to the The Princeton Review, as of 2020 the gender breakdown of the student body falls into 60% identifying as male and 40% as female, with a total enrolment of 530.
Built in 1834, Princeton Seminary's chapel was named to honor Samuel Miller, the second professor at the Seminary. It was designed in the Greek Revival style by Charles Steadman, who also designed the nearby Nassau Presbyterian Church. Originally located beside Alexander Hall, it was moved in 1933 toward the center of the campus, its steps now leading down onto the Seminary's main quad. Miller Chapel underwent a complete renovation in 2000, with the addition of the Joe R. Engle Organ.
Navigating the Waters
In 2011, Princeton Theological Seminary's Office of Multicultural Relations and The Kaleidoscope Institute worked together to initiate an effort known as "Navigating the Waters," a program designed to promote cultural proficiency and diversity competency in faculty, staff, and students.
Center for Barth Studies
Alexander Hall. The original building of the Princeton Theological Seminary, patterned after Nassau Hall, and designed by John McComb, Jr. Built in 1814.
The Center for Barth Studies was established at Princeton Seminary in 1997 and is administered by a board of seminary faculty. The Center sponsors conferences, research opportunities, discussion groups, and publications that seek to advance understanding of the theology of Karl Barth (1886-1968), the German Swiss professor and pastor widely regarded as the greatest theologian of the 20th century. The Karl Barth Research Collection, part of Special Collections in the Princeton Theological Seminary Libraries, supports the scholarly activities of the Center for Barth Studies. The Karl Barth Research Collection is acquiring an exhaustive collection of writings by and about Karl Barth. Although many volumes are still needed, the Research Collection has already acquired Barth's most important works in German and English, several first editions, and an original hand-written manuscript by Karl Barth.
The Center has also established an annual event organized to award the Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life, during which the recipient delivers an address. The Abraham Kuyper Consultation, a series of further lectures, takes place on the following day.
In 2017, there was a controversy surrounding the plan to award the Kuyper Prize to Tim Keller, then Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. A group of students and faculty protested that Keller should not receive the award due to his non-affirming views regarding LGBTQ and women clergy. President Barnes initially defended awarding Keller the prize before changing his position. Keller withdrew himself from consideration for the prize and still delivered his lecture. While drawing support from some quarters, the decision to not award Keller the prize also drew criticism in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.
Center of Theological Inquiry
In 1978, Princeton Theological Seminary's Board of Trustees established the Center of Theological Inquiry as an independent, ecumenical institution for advanced theological research, "to inquire into the relationship between theological disciplines, [and of these with] ... both human and natural sciences, to inquire into the relationship between diverse religious traditions ..., to inquire into the present state of religious consciousness in the modern world, and to examine such other facets of religion in the modern world as may be appropriate ..." Today, the Center has its own board, funding, mission and staff, yet maintains close relations with Princeton Theological Seminary. The present director is William Storrar and the director of research is Robin Lovin.
Princeton Theological Review, Volume 1, Number 1 (1903)
Theology Today is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal of Christian theology founded in 1944.
Koinonia Journal is published annually by doctoral students at Princeton Theological Seminary. The publication and its annual forum promote written and face-to-face interdisciplinary discussion about issues in theology and the study of religion. It is distributed to well over 100 libraries worldwide.
Princeton Theological Review is a student-run, annual and online journal that exists to serve students within the Princeton Theological Seminary body as well as the wider theological community. It is distributed to well over 100 libraries worldwide.
Women in Church and Ministry Lecture, held in February.
Frederick Buechner Prize
Acclaimed writer and theologian Frederick Buechner has long standing ties to Princeton Theological Seminary and the seminary has honored him with the creation of the Buechner Prize for Writing. Princeton sponsored and hosted the Buechner Writing Workshop in June 2015. Also, Princeton Theological Seminary has given copies of Buechner's Telling the Truth to students as part of their graduation.
Principals and Presidents of Princeton Theological Seminary
Theological Seminary, Princeton. Brown Hall (NYPL b11707651-G90F457 009ZF)
Prior to the creation of the office of President in 1902, the seminary was governed by the principal.