About Us

We are a bridge between religious studies scholarship and the wider public.

The Marty Center is animated by a commitment to rigorous research, teaching within and beyond the classroom, and public engagement – the three hallmarks of our founder’s career.

Our Founder

Martin E. Marty

Dr. Marty is one of the great figures in modern scholarship on religion.

He is an alumnus of the Divinity School’s PhD program (1956) and was a member of the faculty in History of Christianity for over 35 years. A Lutheran pastor and a prodigious scholar and teacher, Dr. Marty authored dozens of books, including a National Book Award winner; was president of the American Academy of Religion; and served on two presidential commissions.

Recognizing the complex ways religion informs and shapes our world, as well as the important insights scholars can provide, Dr. Marty sought to engage wider audiences with the Divinity School’s work. He worked closely with Joseph M. Kitagawa, Dean of the Divinity school from 1970 –1980, to create the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion, which officially opened in October 1979. In 1998, it was renamed as the Martin Marty Center in honor of its founding director. Subsequent Marty Center directors have included Bernard McGinn, Frank Reynolds, W. Clark Gilpin, Wendy Doniger, William Schweiker, and Willemien Otten.

As religion continues to intersect with today’s most pressing issues, we continue to build on Dr. Marty’s legacy, including with a new focus on collaborative initiatives and providing training and resources for community partners. All of our programs rest on the conviction that dialogue and understanding of religion are critical to a functional society.

Who We Are