Dr. Hanna Reichel joined the Princeton Seminary faculty in January 2018 as Associate Professor of Reformed Theology. Dr. Reichel’s theological interests include Christology, scriptural hermeneutics, political theology, constructive theology, poststructuralist theory, and the theology of Karl Barth. She considers Barth a great resource for post-modern theology that points toward timeless truths and shared modern values. Recently we sat down with Dr. Reichel to ask her about what animates her research and teaching.
Q: What unique take on Barth do you
bring to the Princeton Seminary
A: I am particularly intrigued by his unapologetic focus on Jesus Christ, by his antisystematic coherence, by his hypercritical (and, more than anything, self-critical) stance, and his relentless way of beginning again and again with the beginning.
Q: What impact do you hope your
work will have?
A: I do my work because I feel a deep need to better understand God and God’s work in our world as well as a longing for a more just and humane society. My research and teaching are expressions of this aspiration and of my conviction to share it and pursue it within the community. If my work is able to incite in others a similar joy for understanding and living a justice-seeking life then I’ll consider my work fruitful.
Rigorous scholarship is more than intellectual gymnastics. It is pursued in order to strengthen individuals and communities of faith.
Q: What drew you to Princeton
A: I am fascinated by Princeton Theological Seminary’s combined commitment to both faith and scholarship. It is a modern example of “Fides Quaerens Intellectum,” faith seeking understanding. Rigorous scholarship is more than intellectual gymnastics. It is pursued in order to strengthen individuals and communities of faith. Deep faith strives for clarity and understanding and does not draw from naïve beliefs or fundamentalist convictions.
Q: How will your classes prepare
students to be Christian leaders?
A: I don’t know if we should strive for “leadership” all of the time. After all, our initial calling is to be followers, not leaders—disciples, not masters. The best leaders are not those who want to lead, but those who have found out where to go and take others with them. We should focus more on asking what it means to be “Christian,” to be Christ-followers, and on asking how we are able to articulate that and translate it into action in the different spaces we inhabit. We may become true witnesses regardless of our qualities and opportunities of leadership.
“My call as a pastor centers on shaping a community where people can connect and be real with each other and God.”