From the Managing Editor

By Jamie L. Manson

We hope you have enjoyed this first issue of the revitalized Yale Divinity School publication Reflections. As many of you remember, for the second half of the twentieth century this publication featured theological inquiries into contemporary concerns of the church and the world. Though its content varied over the years, Reflections always maintained its core commitment to expressing the thoughts of the finest scholars of religion in writing at once profound and accessible.

Since setting out to put Reflections back on press, our goal has been to build upon this legacy. The magazine will be published twice a year with the content of each issue centered on one theme of religious inquiry. It will incorporate essays, sermons, book reviews, poetry, and artwork that relates to the theme. Each of these pieces will demonstrate a dialogue between the academic study of religion and the religious issues of importance to the world outside the academy.

This issue showcases the work of Yale Divinity School faculty and students. Future issues will also invite intellectual and creative contributions from among our alumni and alumnae, as well as those beyond our campus. The articles in this issue present theological responses to violence on a global level, in the Bible, in the parish community, and in the quiet pain of the human psyche. In each of their approaches, our authors reflect on the ways in which violence has affected not only their academic disciplines, but also the human reality that lies at the heart of their work.

The images that illustrate each issue will be the work of noteworthy artists. As you notice, the artwork of Francisco Goya illustrates many of the pages of this issue. Goya’s work was particularly suited to this issue because of his singular ability to depict the horrors of violence with sensibilities that are as profoundly religious as they are human. So often in history, the artist has complemented the theologian in the creation of images that express ideas, realities, and mysteries that even the greatest theological prose has strained to capture. The faces that surround the madrileño on the cover depict multiple human responses to violence: anger, rebellion, surrender, escape, despair, prayer. The faces surrounding Christ on the frontispiece portray the human realities that lead to violence: zealotry, greed, ignorance, betrayal, avoidance, cowardice. The expressions contained in these images are as rich and multi-dimensional as the reflections expressed by our authors in this magazine.

In word and image, Reflections highlights the central place of theology in the intellectual conversation about vital issues concerning human life. Whether through an engagement of global concerns, texts that have shaped history, disciplines of the academy, or experiences that touch the human heart, Reflections is committed to exploring current questions that lead to the contemplation of ultimate meaning.

The previous issue of Reflections, volume 90, number 2, published in spring of 1995, featured a portrait of H. Richard Niebuhr on its cover. In the decade since, Yale Divinity School has undergone an extraordinary transformation, though its connection to tradition remains throughout its halls, most especially in its main auditorium named for Niebuhr. It is our hope that, like its revitalized campus, this magazine will signify the Divinity School’s continued engagement in the future of theological inquiry. It is with great joy and anticipation for that future that Yale Divinity School presents volume 91, number 1, of Reflections.