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Wake Forest Divinity School Expands First Faculty

By Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237
Oct. 14, 1998

The Wake Forest University School of Divinity, opening in fall 1999, has appointed two more members of its core faculty.

Next fall, Alexandra R. Brown and James M. Dunn join the Wake Forest divinity school. Brown will have a one-year appointment as visiting associate professor of biblical studies; Dunn will be visiting professor of Christianity and public policy for an extended period.

Brown heads the religion department at Washington and Lee University. Dunn is executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee, a religious liberty agency.

At Washington and Lee, Brown has been associate professor of religion since 1993 and head of the religion department since 1996. She joined the Washington and Lee faculty in 1987. During her tenure at Washington and Lee, she has also been visiting associate professor of New Testament at The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Brown earned her doctorate in religion in 1991 at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary. She received a master of divinity degree in 1980 at Yale Divinity School and a bachelor's degree in religion in 1977 at Duke University.

"As a younger scholar, Alexandra Brown brings to the divinity school academic strength, theological commitment and feminist awareness," said biblical scholar Phyllis Trible, associate dean and professor of biblical studies at the divinity school. "I am delighted that she will help us launch the first year of the school by teaching the foundational courses in New Testament."

Dunn announced this month that he was stepping aside as executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee by Sept. 1, 1999, to join the Wake Forest divinity school. Dunn, who has led the Baptist agency since 1981, will remain involved with it on a part-time basis in a different role. He holds a doctorate from Southwestern Baptist Seminary.

Bill Leonard, dean of Wake Forest's divinity school, said Dunn "is recognized inside and outside the Baptist community as one of the foremost analysts of church-state issues in the United States."

"In his work at the Baptist Joint Committee, James has faithfully articulated Baptist 'ways' of responding to matters of religious liberty, justice and hope," he added.

At Wake Forest, Brown and Dunn will be part of a new faculty that includes Trible, formerly at Union Theological Seminary in New York City; theologian Frank Tupper, formerly at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.; and Samuel Weber, a Roman Catholic priest and Benedictine monk who is an expert on church history and spirituality. The Wake Forest divinity school will open in fall 1999 with students from a variety of denominational traditions and is expected to grow to 135-150 students within three years.

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