Dr. Jim Brandt, Professor of Historical Theology, and Dr. Hal Knight, Donald and Pearl Wright Professor of Wesleyan Studies and E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism, have announced their plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2021-2022 academic year. In sharing news of their plans, Dr. Jeanne Hoeft, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, commented, “Hal Knight and Jim Brandt have worked tirelessly over the course of their careers to advance theological education in service to their students. A generation of pastors and lay leaders have benefitted from the teaching and mentorship these two outstanding faculty members have provided so freely to their students.”
After teaching appointments at Saint Olaf College and Augustana College, Dr. Brandt joined the Saint Paul faculty in 1989 as Assistant Professor of Historical Theology, earning promotions to Associate Professor in 2002 and to Professor in 2012. From 2005 through 2018, he also held an appointment as Director of Contextual Education.
Dr. Brandt’s research has focused primarily on Schleiermacher’s Christian ethics. His more recent publications include a chapter in Schleiermacher and Sustainability (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2018), which considered Schleiermacher’s ethics and their applicability to issues of sustainability and climate change. During his tenure as Director of Contextual Education, Dr. Brandt published a number of articles related to Practical Theology and its implications for Contextual Education. He also helped establish Saint Paul’s immersion program in Guatemala, taking groups of students there eight times.
Dr. Brandt was ordained in a predecessor body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1984 and has served the church by teaching and preaching since that time. His service to the ELCA included six years on the Board of the Division for Church and Society. During his final year on the Board in 2007, Dr. Brandt held the post of acting chair. The Board formulated the ELCA’s Social Statement during these six years, a statement that resulted in full inclusion for the LGBT community in the life of the church.
Dr. Knight came to Saint Paul in 1993 as Assistant Professor of Evangelism, attaining promotion to Associate Professor in 1999 and Professor in 2003. In recognition of the breadth of his teaching responsibilities, his title changed to Professor of Wesleyan Studies in 2004 and, in 2017, to Professor of Wesleyan Studies and Evangelism. Prior to joining the Saint Paul faculty, Dr. Knight taught at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology while pursuing his doctoral studies as well as at the Appalachian Local Pastors School and the Beulah Heights Bible College.
Dr. Knight’s research and publication in the realm of evangelism and Wesleyan studies produced an impressive body of work. Thirteen books, including a Wesleyan devotional guide, appeared under his name from 1992 until 2018. A prolific author, Dr. Knight’s essays and chapters have appeared in at least ten other books, some of which feature multiple entries under his pen. Sixteen published journal articles appear under his name along with an extensive listing of editorials and video lectures.
In the classroom, Dr. Knight has taught an extensive array of courses in the realms of Wesleyan Studies, Evangelism, Theology, Church and Society, and Worship, along with a variety of interdisciplinary courses. His teaching has encompassed not only Saint Paul students pursuing graduate degrees, but numerous classes for the Course of Study School program as well.
His numerous professional affiliations include election as president of the Wesleyan Theological Society in 2002-2003; editor of the Journal of the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education from 1997 until 2003; and membership in the American Academy of Religion as well as in the Society for Pentecostal Studies. Dr. Knight’s editorial board appointments include Kingswood Books, Beacon Hill Press, and Wipf and Stock’s Wesleyan and Methodist Explorations series. An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, he is a Retired Member in Full Connection with the Missouri Annual Conference.
Retirement plans for both Dr. Knight and Dr. Brandt are developing. Dr. Brandt will continue some teaching at Saint Paul but intends to make more time for writing, travel, and time with his grandchildren. Dr. Knight plans to spend more time writing while continuing to teach.
As pandemic restrictions permit, Saint Paul will plan to celebrate the careers and contributions of these two remarkable faculty members. Details will be shared as they develop.