Launched in 2019, Davenant Hall began by offering simple online courses low on frills but high on substance. We framed theological education not as mere instruction, but as master and apprentice searching for wisdom. Our courses proved wildly popular, and just a year later, in September 2020, we launched two degree programs: the Certificate and M.Litt in Classical Protestantism. In 2022 we expanded the M.Litt. program with a Pastoral Ministry track aimed at those hoping to ultimately serve the church through ordained ministry.
Thanks to the printing press, the Reformation era birthed a “Republic of Letters,” stimulating profound intellectual work from scholars, theologians, and statesmen across Europe, centered around universities. Sadly, this collegial world faded, leaving behind a barren educational landscape, where it is rare to find good men and women with the space to spur one another on to pursue the Good.
Into this valley of dry bones, the internet has descended, at once destabilizing and invigorating. Like it or not, the new tools of communication are here to stay, like the printing press before them. But we can only use them well if we build, like the old Republic of Letters before us, on the foundations of friendship and discipleship. This is the challenge that Davenant Hall is taking up.
Davenant Hall combines the rich theological and moral vision of Reformed Catholic orthodoxy with the desire to create a new Republic of Letters. To that end, we advance and renew Christian wisdom for the digital age, harnessing the new powers of the internet to offer effective and flexible online instruction, and the old practices of community and mentorship to seek wisdom together through discipleship retreats and residential intensives at our Davenant House property.
While there is value in the 30,000-ft. overviews of Scripture, theology, and church history provided by undergraduate or MDiv degrees, Davenant Hall goes deeper. To this end, classes are geared around close reading of primary texts and deep wrestling with specific questions. Assessment is focused primarily around class participation, comprehensive oral final exams, and term papers.
Although the bulk of instruction is online, residential intensives are key to Davenant Hall. MLitt students are required to attend two two-week intensive courses at Davenant House, as well as a personal discipleship week. Residentials are not required for Certificate students, who instead undertake mentor-directed reading; however, Certificate attendees can take the Protestant Wisdom residentials (and other, shorter residentials) for credit if they are able to attend.
Davenant Hall maintains our focus on recovering the theological vision of the Protestant Reformation. This vision is committed to the primacy of Scripture and the freedom of the Christian conscience, while also cultivating disciplined use of reason, an appreciation for the role of order and authority in the Christian life, and an understanding of freedom that is oriented toward service and the common good.
A magisterial Protestantism attentively reads both the book of nature and the book of Scripture, carefully studies both the historic creeds of the church and the insights of fresh biblical exegesis, and prudently applies Christian wisdom to the “three estates” of commonwealth, church, and family.
No, in fact, you do not need to currently belong to an academic institution at all. Undergraduate students, pastors, teachers, and independent scholars are welcome as well.
If you want to participate as a degree-seeking student in either our Certificate or M.Litt program, then yes, you do, although the application process is very straightforward. Apply here for the Certificate, the M.Litt, or the M.Litt Pastoral Ministry Track. If you are participating as an auditor or just want to take individual classes for credit now (which could later be applied to the Certificate or M.Litt), then no, you can just register for individual courses.
Not generally, although certain individual classes may require certain other classes as prerequisites. All classes are open to students 18 years old and above who are capable of deep reading, charitable engagement, and coherent writing (though of course students will be expected to grow in these skills through participation).
The standard format for all online courses will be 10 weeks, 2 hrs/wk. Credit-seeking students should plan on spending roughly 4 hrs./wk. on average outside of class for each online course. Full-time students should plan on enrolling on five classes each term (no less than four, no more than six).
All of our live classes use industry-leading videoconferencing software, Zoom. Recordings of each class session, including any “whiteboards” or screen-shares, will be made available for students who were unable to make a particular class meeting.
It is important that for-credit students be able to participate in most of the live classes, although auditors may participate via recordings only if desired. It is our goal to schedule live class times that will fit within normal waking hours for all enrolled students, wherever they live on the globe, though obviously the times will be more convenient for some than others. After the registration deadline, students will be polled to determine suitable class meeting times, and the time that works best for all participants will be selected. If the resulting time does not work for you, you will have the option of (a) switching to auditor and watching recordings, (b) switching to a different course, (c) receiving a full refund.
We will not normally be allowing students to join one of the classes after the registration deadlines for each course, although students may drop, go down to Auditor status, or switch to another class in case of an unresolvable schedule conflict. This is our refund policy:
Residential intensive courses will run for two weeks in the summer and should be considered full-time commitments during the two weeks. Davenant Discipleship Weeks will be scheduled with each student during either the Christmas break or the period between the end of Trinity Term and the Residential Intensives.
At present, no. We have made an effort to price these classes at rock-bottom levels, so that cost will not be an obstacle to most students. Moreover, students who complete the M.Litt will be eligible for generous scholarships from the Davenant Institute toward future graduate study.
Davenant Hall is not currently accredited by any outside agency, although we believe our courses and our program as a whole conform to high standards of professional qualification, academic rigor, and student assessment. However, we are currently building relationships with other academic institutions to have our courses and degrees recognized for transfer credit or advanced standing.
Our program is new, but the Davenant Institute has excellent relationships with numerous institutions of higher education, at the undergraduate, graduate, and seminary levels, and will be working over the coming years to establish transfer-credit arrangements with such institutions. If you would like to inquire about the possibility of such an arrangement with your current institution, please contact Colin Redemer, our Provost, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Davenant courses are second to none in the quality of the teachers and the depth of the engagement they make possible. I can think of no better way of diving into the riches of classical Protestant thought, and few more worthy endeavors for our time”