Rev. Dr. Craig Atwood
The Charles D. Couch Chair of Moravian Theology
Director of the Center for Moravian Studies
PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary, 1995
Craig Atwood joined the faculty of Moravian College and Theological Seminary in 2010 and teaches courses in Moravian theology, Moravian history, the history of Christianity, religion in America, and history of Christian thought. On occasion he also taught courses on Christian faith and fantasy literature (Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling, L'Engle). In recent years, Craig's classes have been held primarily online, and he has had students from Labrador, Albania, Germany, Nicaragua, Tanzania, and Korea. In both the academic and church settings, Craig is helping the broader Christian community rediscover the riches of the Moravian theological heritage, especially the radical aspects of Zinzendorf’s theology. He has published on concepts like the motherhood of the Holy Spirit, spiritual androgyny, Moravian mysticism, pacifism, and Moravian radicalism. Craig is an ordained presbytery in the Moravian Church, Southern Province, and has served on many church committees and commissions. Before becoming a professor, he served as a college chaplain and a pastor.
As a scholar, Craig is best known for his books Community of the Cross: Moravian Piety in Colonial Bethlehem (Penn State, 2004), which won two major awards, and Theology of the Czech Brethren from Hus to Comenius (Penn State, 2009). He is also the author of over 50 academic articles, chapters in books, encyclopedia articles, book reviews, and church publications. Currently he is writing a one-volume history of the Moravian Church from its founding in 1457 to the present. He plans to complete that project during his sabbatical in 2023.
As Director of the Center for Moravian Studies, Craig has been involved in the quest to have Bethlehem declared a World Heritage Site along with Christiansfeld (Denmark), Herrnhut (Germany) and Gracehill (N. Ireland). Craig often travels to give lectures on Moravian history and theology. In recent years he has taught or lectured in Tanzania, South Africa, Suriname, Jamaica, Peru, Cuba, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Canada, and Italy. He is also the editor of the book series Pietist, Moravian, and Anabaptist Studies for Penn State University Press and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Moravian History. For 20 years he edited the journal The Hinge: A Journal of Christian Thought for the Moravian Church. He has served as an officer for the Moravian Historical Society, the Moravian Museum in Bethlehem, and the Wachovia HIstorical Society.
When Craig is not writing, researching, traveling, and teaching, he likes to walk in the woods, watch old movies, play video games, and read mystery novels. He regards How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss as having the best theology of any Christmas book, and every year he reads Lord of the Rings. He believes that imagination is essential to the life of faith, and that moral behavior is rooted in empathy and compassion. Religion must inspire the heart before it can illumine the mind.