students in class

The ISM and Yale Divinity School

As the direct descendant of the School of Sacred Music at Union Seminary, the Institute is deeply committed to its affiliation with the Yale Divinity School. Institute faculty affiliated with the Divinity School are concerned with the history and present life of the churches, and especially with worshiping congregations in a broad spectrum of Western Christian denominations, as well as Judaism and Eastern Christianity. The program in liturgical studies at the Institute and Divinity School has faculty who are historians of liturgical texts, music, and ceremony, but who are also keenly interested in and knowledgeable about the worship of the contemporary churches. The student who studies religion and the arts at the ISM has access to faculty and courses in the history of the visual, literary, and musical arts. Students at the Divinity School can matriculate through the Institute with concentrations in either of these two programs.

Institute/Divinity faculty focus on four broad subject areas: the Bible in liturgy and religious art; hymnology; the history of Christian denominations; and theology, politics, and the arts. These subject areas intersect with and augment the work of colleagues in other disciplines at the Divinity School. Thus, students at the Institute learn through programs at the Divinity School how canonical texts have gone forth to the assembly, and how, from patristic times to the present, these texts have been learned and reinterpreted by the worshiping community. Classes at the Divinity School in liturgical subjects, including music history, religious poetry and drama, iconography, and architectural history, stress encounters with primary source materials, manuscript and archival study, as well as trips to museums, galleries, and architectural sites. All are possible through Yale’s great libraries and collections, the many historic churches in the region, and New Haven’s proximity to New York City.

Students at the Institute may also participate in daily worship in Marquand Chapel. The chapel program is a partnership of Yale Divinity School and the Institute. It is rich in variety, and the ecumenical nature of the Institute and Divinity School is expressed in the leadership and content of the services. In keeping with the esteemed heritage of preaching at Yale and the Divinity School, sermons are offered twice a week by faculty, students, staff, and invited guests from beyond campus. On other days the rich symbolic, artistic, and musical possibilities of the Christian tradition are explored and developed. The assembly’s song is supported by the Marquand Chapel Choir, the Marquand Gospel Choir, two a cappella groups, many and various soloists, and occasional ensembles. Many avenues for musical leadership are open to the student body by volunteering, as are many avenues of leadership through the spoken word.