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David J. Gouwens

Emeritus Professor of Theology


Phone: 817-257-7575


David J. Gouwens is Emeritus Professor of Theology at Brite Divinity School. He is a graduate of Hope College, Holland, Michigan, and holds the M.Div. and S.T.M. degrees from Yale Divinity School. He received his Ph.D. in Theology from Yale University. He taught theology at Brite from 1983-2015, including introductory courses in historical and contemporary theology, and advanced seminars in Kierkegaard, Barth, contemporary theological hermeneutics, Reformed theology, and Christology. Dr. Gouwens’ publications have focused on the thought of Søren Kierkegaard. He is co-editor of T&T Clark Companion to the Theology of Kierkegaard (2020), and author of Kierkegaard as Religious Thinker (Cambridge University Press, 1996) and Kierkegaard’s Dialectic of the Imagination (Peter Lang, 1989). In 2012 he co-edited The Paul L. Holmer Papers (Wipf and Stock: Cascade Books Series) in three volumes.

From 2012-14 he was co-chair of the Steering Committee of the Kierkegaard, Religion and Culture Group of the American Academy of Religion, and was Vice-President and then President (1999-2000) of The Søren Kierkegaard Society of North America. At Brite he was Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (2000-02) and Interim Dean (2002-05). An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), he served on Grace Presbytery’s Examinations Committee and contributes to adult education sessions.


  • Ph.D., Yale University, 1982

  • S.T.M., Yale Divinity School, 1974

  • M.Div., Yale Divinity School, 1973

  • B.A., Hope College, Holland, Michigan, 1970


  • T&T Clark Companion to the Theology of Kierkegaard, co-edited with Aaron P. Edwards London and New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2020

  • The Paul L. Holmer Papers, co-edited with Lee C. Barrett III, in 3 volumes. Volume One: On Kierkegaard and the Truth, Volume Two: Thinking the Faith with Passion: Selected Essays, Volume Three: Communicating the Faith Indirectly: Selected Sermons, Addresses, and Prayers Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, Cascade Books Series, 2012

  • Kierkegaard as Religious Thinker New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996

  • Kierkegaard's Dialectic of the Imagination New York: Peter Lang, 1989

Other Select Publications

  • “Kierkegaard’s Descriptive Philosophy of Religion: The Imagination Poised between Possibility and Actuality.” Philosophies 2024, 9, Issue 3: Kierkegaard’s Religious Thought in Relation to Current Religious Discourse, 84.

  • "Kierkegaard's Incarnational Realism: The Grammar of Christian Knowledge." Chapter 2 in Søren Kierkegaard: Theologian of the Gospel. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2021, pages 21–40.

  • "Barth and Kierkegaard." Chapter 45 in Wiley Blackwell Companion to Karl Barth Hoboken, NJ and Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, 2020, volume 2, pages 551–64.

  • "Hugh Ross Mackintosh: Kierkegaard as 'A Precursor of Karl Barth.'" Kierkegaard's Influence on Theology: Anglophone and Scandinavian Protestant Theology Farnham, Surrey, UK/Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2012, pages 85-103.

  • "Soren Kierkegaard: Between Skepticism and Faith's Happy Passion." The Devil's Whore: Reason and Philosophy in the Lutheran Tradition, Studies in Lutheran History and Theology Series Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011, pages 115-22.

  • "Kierkegaard’s Christian Discourses on Upbuilding, Mildness, and Polemic: ‘A Temple-Cleansing Celebration–and Then the Quiet.'" International Kierkegaard Commentary: Christian Discourses Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 2007, pages 143-63.

  • "Kierkegaard on the Universally Religious and the Specifically Christian as Resources for Interreligious Conversation." Kierkegaard and Religious Pluralism: Papers of the AAR Kierkegaard, Religion, and Culture Group, and the Søren Kierkegaard Society Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2007, pages 83-104.

  • "Kierkegaard's Hermeneutics of Discipleship: Communal and Critical Uses of Scripture in the 1854-55 Attack." Søren Kierkegaard and the Word(s): Essays on Hermeneutics and Communication Copenhagen: C.A. Reitzel, 2003, pages 81-92.


  • “A Little Night Music,” Evening Address as the Guest of Honor at the Søren Kierkegaard Society Banquet, San Antonio, TX, November 17, 2023, with keyboard and commentary by Professor Don E. Saliers, Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

  • “The Passion Narratives in Kierkegaard’s For Self-Examination and Judge for Yourself!” paper presented at the Søren Kierkegaard Society session, “Kierkegaard’s Use of the Passion Narratives,” Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, San Diego, November 22, 2014.

  • “Kierkegaard, Holmer, and Theology,” Invited paper presentation at a panel on “Paul Holmer, Kierkegaard, and the Uses of Scripture,” Søren Kierkegaard Society, American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Chicago, November 18, 2012.

  • “Paul L. Holmer and Reading Søren Kierkegaard,” Fifth Biannual Lecture, The Baylor Kierkegaard Society, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, September 20, 2011.

  • “Kierkegaard on the Universally Religious and the Specifically Christian as Resources for Interreligious Conversation,” paper presented at the Kierkegaard, Religion, and Culture Group session, “Sources of Religious Pluralism in Kierkegaard’s Writings,” American Academy of Religion national meeting, San Diego, November 17, 2007.

  • “Lyric, Dialectic, and Understanding Scripture in Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling,” paper presented to the Southwest Biblical Studies Seminar, April 12 2002.

  • “Kierkegaard and ‘The Kingdom of Music’: Some Aesthetic and Theological Reflections,” Past President’s Address, Søren Kierkegaard Society Banquet American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, November 16, 2001.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Academy of Religion

  • The Søren Kierkegaard Society

  • Yale-Washington (now Yale-Princeton) Theology Group

  • The Karl Barth Society of North America