Two-time Drew Theological School Alum O’neil Van Horn T’17,’21 Publishes First Book

“If you’re looking to pursue critical work at the cutting edge of theological and philosophical studies in religion, Drew is the place to be”

January 2024 – Drew Theological School alum O’neil Van Horn T’17,’21 came to Drew Theological School to earn a Master of Arts in Theology

Drew’s commitment to an interdisciplinary education model, coupled with cross-cultural courses and the opportunity to participate in programs like Drew’s Partnership for Religion and Education in Prisons (PREP) program, allowed Van Horn to further explore his many intellectual curiosities.

Realizing he would be well-prepared to succeed in the competitive academia marketplace, Van Horn continued his education journey at Drew and earned his PhD in Philosophical and Theological Studies in Religion.

“I initially made the decision to attend Drew for my master’s degree because I wanted to study with the people whose written works I had been shaped by,” said Van Horn. 

“I knew that if I weren’t to pursue any further degrees, I wanted to ensure that my time as a master’s student was spent apprenticing myself to the teaching of folks like Catherine Keller [George T. Cobb Professor of Constructive Theology], Laurel Kearns [Professor of Ecology, Religion and Society], and Kenneth Ngwa [John Fletcher Hurst Professor of Hebrew Bible].

Van Horn is currently an assistant professor of theology at Xavier University where he teaches the intersections between theology and environmental justice. He recently published his first book, On the Ground: Terrestrial Theopoetics and Planetary Politics, which he credits as “the product of my years at Drew.”

“It is a gift to see one’s work in print, and that is especially true for me with this book when considering the cloud of witnesses—many of whom studied or taught at Drew—that helped inspire my work.”

“I can trace my interest in the intersections between soil science, ecotheology, and environmental activism—some of the key themes I explore in this book—to the very first term paper I wrote for Catherine Keller’s Systematic Theology course as a first semester master’s student in the fall of 2015,” said Van Horn.

Van Horn touts the flexibility of Drew’s PhD program, which allows “students to pursue their interests and to focus on the matters that concern them.”

“If you’re looking to pursue critical work at the cutting edge of theological and philosophical studies in religion, Drew is the place to be,” he said.

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