Program Aims

The Luce Foundation’s Theology program aims to advance understanding of religion and theology. Through grants to seminaries, divinity schools, and research universities, the program supports the work of scholars, cultivates the next generation of leaders, and promotes public engagement.

The program supports projects whose engagements extend into a variety of settings—from religious communities and academic fields to activist networks and media venues. Emphasis is placed on projects that cross religious, disciplinary, and geographic borders, and on scholarship that is theoretically sophisticated, historically informed, critically reflexive, and practically invested.

Particular attention is given to work that rethinks what theology is and reimagines its contemporary significance; to research that creatively examines received assumptions about religion, secularity, and public culture; and to projects located at the intersections of theological inquiry and the multidisciplinary study of religion.

Responding to the diverse sector of North American institutions dedicated to graduate and professional education in theology and religion, the program provides support for seminaries and divinity schools, research universities and university-based centers, and a limited number of independent media organizations.

Program History

The Luce Foundation has included religion and theology among its core interests from its inception. When Henry R. Luce established the foundation in 1936, he honored the work of his parents, Presbyterian missionary educators in China, and in its initial decades more than one-third of the foundation’s grants were related to ethics and theology. Regular grantees in those years included graduate theological schools of special significance to the Luce family: Union Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and others.

Recent Grants

To support the development of the Irish Network for Public Theology
Corrymeela|Belfast, Ireland
To support a project on religion, gender and public theology
Rice University|Houston, Texas, United States
To support “Religions Texas: Giving Voice to Stories in the Borderlands”
University of Texas, Department of Religious Studies|Austin, Texas, United States
For a project exploring the legacy of James H. Cone’s Black Theology & Black Power
Northwestern University, Department of Religious Studies|Evanston, IL, Illinois, United States
Renewed support for an interdisciplinary network of scholars exploring the intersection of religious and political ideas
Villanova University|Villanova, Pennsylvania, United States
See All Theology Grants

Program Administrators

Program Director: Dr. Jonathan VanAntwerpen

Prior to joining the Foundation, Jonathan was the founding director of the religion and the public sphere program at the Social Science Research Council, where he developed and directed a range of grant-funded projects, launched a suite of experimental digital publishing platforms, served as acting director of communications, and worked to incubate a new initiative on knowledge and culture in a digital age. Jonathan is co-editor of a series of books on secularism and religion, including Habermas and Religion (Polity), Rethinking Secularism (Oxford), The Post-Secular in Question (NYU), The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere (Columbia), and Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age (Harvard). Originally trained as a philosopher, he received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and he is currently a visiting scholar at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge.

Program Assistant: Ms. Devin Denny

Prior to joining the Luce Foundation, Devin was a grant writer and fundraiser for human and social services for New York City’s performing arts and entertainment community. Devin holds a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in Religion, Politics and Ethics, and earned her Bachelors of Arts with Honors from the University of Rochester, with a double major in European History and Comparative Religion.

Image: RIOTcon, the biennial conference hosted by the InterReligious Institute (IRI) at Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS). © Chicago Theological Seminary
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Recent News and Announcements

See All Theology News
Oct. 29, 2019
Mapping How Religion is Lived, in Sanctuaries Holy and Profane
Sept. 30, 2019
Educating Effective Chaplains Project Kicks Off in Boston
Sept. 16, 2019
Princeton Students Participate in Oral History Project with Resettled Refugees