Garrett-Evangelical News

Sabbatical Lecture of Dr. David Hogue Focuses on Neuroscience and Theology

EVANSTON, Ill., September 2011 -- Dr. David Hogue, Professor of Pastoral Theology, presented his research during his sabbatical lecture titled, Brain Matters: Toward a Practical Theology of Human Connectedness.  His research and presentation focused on the interface between neuroscience and spiritual identity and practice. Dr. Hogue observed that social neuroscience is making strides in the field traditionally understood to fall under the purview of theologians and religious practitioners. Said Dr. Hogue, “Biological science is making claims about the inner workings of the mind and soul, confirming some of our ancient convictions about personhood, and deeply challenging others.”

In his presentation, Dr. Hogue exemplified several areas in which theology and theHogue_2neurosciences are engaging common ground.  First, the brain sciences remind us of the implications of creaturely embodiment, as humans operate with both instincts for self-preservation and the need to make meaning and find fulfillment.  Second, contemporary neuroscience is making implicit theological claims about the continuity and discontinuity between human beings and the rest of creation, both challenging and informing Judeo-Christian understandings of the Imago Dei.  Next, many of the same brain processes connecting us to each other also connect us to God – supporting the theological notion of a primal link between loving God and loving neighbor as the core of human identity.  Finally, our biological legacies support both our sense of the sacredness of committed relationships, but also underscore their fragility.

Concluding with the work of pastoral theologian James Ashbrook, Dr. Hogue underscored the fundamentally relational nature of human development, suggesting, “We are not simply our brains.  We are our connections.”

To watch this presentation go to  To learn about upcoming faculty lectures go to

Founded in 1853, Garrett-Evangelical is a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 500 students from many denominations and various cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.

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UMC Logo Garrett-Evangelical, a seminary related to
The United Methodist Church, welcomes
students from a wide range of faith traditions.