David S. Pacini

Professor of Historical and Philosophical Theology
David S. Pacini
Phone: 404.727.4052
    • PhD, Harvard University, 1979
    • AM, Harvard University, 1974
    • MTS, Harvard University, 1972
    • AB, Colgate University, 1969

    On leave for the academic year 2020-21.

    Since coming to Candler in 1980, Dr. David S. Pacini’s aim in teaching historical theology has been to help students deepen their respect for other faith traditions and recognize the inherent connectivity between all faiths. He also coordinates the Theology and the Arts concentration as part of the Master of Divinity degree program, chairs the Historical Studies in Theology and Religion program in Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion and has served on a number of university committees. 

    Pacini’s research explores the boundaries and intersections of literature, art history, psychoanalytic theory and philosophical theology in modern European thought. The author of The Cunning of Modern Religious Thought, and Through Narcissus’ Glass Darkly: The Modern Religion of Conscience, which respectively address the epistemological and moral dimensions of modern philosophical theology, Pacini is currently at work on the concluding volume of this trilogy, Jesus and the Philosophers: Seeing Salvation, which plumbs the aesthetic dimensions of Christology.

    A popular lecturer known for linking art history with historical theology, Pacini is also the editor and annotator of Between Kant and Hegel: Lectures on German Idealism that his teacher, Dieter Henrich, gave at Harvard and Columbia in 1973.

    Selected Publications

    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication


    Through Narcissus' Glass Darkly: The Modern Religion of Conscience, Fordham University Press, 2008

    Editor,Between Kant and Hegel: Lectures on German Idealism, Harvard University Press, 2004

    The Cunning of Modern Religious Thought, Augsburg Fortress, 1986

    Chapters and Articles

    "The Fable of History and the Fable of Theology," in A Middle East Mosaic, Random House, 2000

    "Excurs: Das Lesen der Heiligen Schrift: Der theologische Ort modernar Spiritualitaet," in Geschichte der christlichen Spiritualitaet Dritter Band: Die Zeit nach der Reformation bis zur Gegenwart, Echler Verlag, 1997

    "Symbol Then and Now: Remembering and Connecting." In Good Company: Essays in Honor of Robert Detweiler, in Scholars Press, January 01, 1994

    "Contexts of Autonomy," in Aesthetic Judgment and the Moral World: Studies in Kant, Stanford University Press, 1992

    "History of Western Philosophy and Psychology," "Theory and Praxis," "Materialism," and "Narcissism," in Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Abingdon Press, May 28, 1990

    "Reading Holy Writ: The Locus of Modern Spirituality," in Christian Spirituality: Post-Reformation and Modern, Crossroad, 1989

    "In the Shadow of Modernity: Spirit-Centered Wholeness," in Spirit-Centered Wholeness: Beyond the Psychology of Self, Edwin Mellen Press, 1988

    Selected Awards

    Eleanor Main Graduate Faculty Mentor Award, Laney Graduate School, Emory University, 2019

    High Honors in Philosophy and Religion, Colgate University

    Austen Colgate Scholar, 1968-1969

    Phi Beta Kappa, Colgate University

    Robinson Biblical Literature Prize

    George Cobb Fellow

    Franklin G. Brehmer Scholar, 1966-1969,

    Service of Word, Cannon Chapel, March 7, 2019 


    Service of Word and Table, Cannon Chapel, November 10, 2015

    Service of Word and Table, Cannon Chapel, March 18, 2014

    "Prayer and Transformation: Meditation as a Practice of New-Mindedness" - Candler Practical Ministry Webinars, March 21, 2013

    Selected courses

    Augustine, Descartes, and Wittgenstein on the First Person “I”

    Comparative Theology and Literature

    Faith and Reason

    Jesus: Faith and History

    Kierkegaard: Pseudonymous Authorship

    Paul's Letter to the Romans and Philosophical Influences in its Interpretation

    Reality of God

    Reformation to Nineteenth Century Theologies

    Theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher