David Pacini

David S. Pacini

Professor Emeritus of Historical and Philosophical Theology


PhD, Harvard University, 1979
AM, Harvard University, 1974
MTS, Harvard University, 1972
AB, Colgate University, 1969


Dr. David S. Pacini retired in 2021. From the start of his tenure at Candler in the 1980s, Pacini was focused on teaching historical theology in order to help students deepen their respect for other faith traditions and recognize the inherent connectivity between all faiths. He also coordinated the Theology and the Arts concentration as part of the Master of Divinity degree program, chaired the Historical Studies in Theology and Religion program in Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion and 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. His books, The Cunning of Modern Religious Thought, and Through Narcissus’ Glass Darkly: The Modern Religion of Conscience, respectively address the epistemological and moral dimensions of modern philosophical theology.

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.


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


“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

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