Presenter Bios

Maggi Dawn

Associate Professor of Theology and Literature, and Dean of Marquand Chapel

Originally from England, Professor Dawn came to Yale in 2011. After a first career as a musician and songwriter, she taught theology at the University of Cambridge (UK) for a number of years, while also serving as college Chaplain. She is the author of five books, and teaches courses on performative theology, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poetry for ministry (with Christian Wiman), and the use of the arts in worship. She is ordained in the Church of England, an accredited pastoral supervisor with the Association of Pastoral Supervisors & Educators, an associate writer member of PRS for Music, a member of the Society for the Study of Theology (UK), and serves on the advisory board for the Royal School of Church Music.

Rev. David Mahan

Lecturer in religion and literature, Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School

The author of An Unexpected Light: Theology and Witness in the Poetry & Thought of Charles Williams, Micheal O’Siadhail, and Geoffrey Hill, David Mahan focuses his scholarship on the intersection of literature and the various tasks of theology. His courses regard how works of the literary imagination shape religious convictions and enable Christian faith to speak more meaningfully to contemporary society. He is also the Director of the Rivendell Institute, a Christian study center at Yale, and serves on the Vestry of St. John’s Episcopal Church, New Haven.

Janet Ruffing

Professor in the practice of spirituality and ministerial leadership, Yale Divinity School

The author of six books, most recently, To Tell the Sacred Tale: Spiritual Direction and Narrative, has a background both in literature, including teaching English in secondary schools and a Ph.D. in Christian Spirituality which focused both on “love mysticism” and on spiritual direction.  Her work in mysticism has included mysticism and social transformation, kataphatic mysticism examined through qualitative research discovering that mediated experiences of God may continue throughout one’s lifetime, and has developed a cycle of courses at YDS focused on various mystical figures in Christian traditions.


Thomas Troeger

J. Edward and Ruth Cox Lantz Professor of Christian Communication

Born in 1945 and raised in Ramsey, New Jersey and Cooperstown, New York, Thomas Troeger studied to become a flutist, but under the impact of a great preacher, he decided to prepare for the ministry.   A pastor for seven years, he then began teaching homiletics, hymnody, and liturgics.   His scholarship has focused on the role of the imagination in preaching and worship, and his creative work includes hymns and lyric poems.  


Christian Wiman

Senior lecturer in religion and literature, Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School

Christian Wiman is the author, editor, or translator of eight books.  From 2003 until 2013 he was the editor of Poetry magazine.  Since the fall of 2013 he has been on the faculty at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School, where he teaches courses on poetry and faith, poetry for ministry (with Maggi Dawn), “accidental” theologies, and creative non-fiction.


More coming soon.