Campus in the evening

The Rev. Katherine Sonderegger, Ph.D.

The William Meade Chair of Systematic Theology

The Rev. Katherine Sonderegger, Ph.D., is Chair of Systematic Theology at Virginia Theological Seminary. Since seminarians will be the future teachers and bearers of the tradition, she finds it wonderfully demanding and exciting to introduce them to the texts of the theological tradition.

Sonderegger joined the VTS faculty in 2002, after fifteen years as a professor of religion at Middlebury College. Her academic career began at Smith College, where she undertook interdisciplinary research in medieval studies. Her priestly vocation began at Yale Divinity School, where she completed her M.Div. and STM degrees, writing a thesis on feminist theology. The first years after graduation brought her to congregational ministry and chaplaincy training at Yale New Haven Hospital. Raised a Presbyterian, the Reformed roots run deep in her vocation. She brought these into the Episcopal Church when she was ordained deacon and priest in 2000.

Twin topics have characterized her academic career: the dogmatic theology of Karl Barth and constructive work in systematic theology. She has published in several areas of Barth studies, from Barth’s interpretation of Israel, Jews, and Judaism, to his Doctrine of God, his Christology, and his remarkable exegesis of Scripture. More recently, Sonderegger has turned to constructive theology, writing shorter works on the Doctrines of Election, Creation, and Christology, and launching a new systematics. Volume 1: The Doctrine of God appeared under the aegis of Fortress Press in 2015, and Volume 2: The Trinity: Processions and Persons was published in 2020. She is currently working on Volume 3: Divine Missions, Christology, and Pneumatology.

Sonderegger is also the author of That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew: Karl Barth’s “Doctrine of Israel” (University Park: Penn State Press, 1992) and coauthor, with artist Margaret Adams Parker, of Praying the Stations of the Cross: Finding Hope in a Weary Land (Wm. Eerdmans Press, 2019).

Other publications include:

“Love came down at Christmas: Incarnation and Christology” in The Oxford Handbook to Christmas, T Larsen ed. Oxford University Press, 2020.

The Generous Orthodoxy Lecture, St. Mellitus College, London, March 2020 (forthcoming in an edited volume).

Review essay on R. Williams, Christ the Heart of Creation, forthcoming in Pro Ecclesia.

“The Doctrine of the Election of Israel,” forthcoming in the T&T Clark Companion to Election, Evan Driel, ed.

Sonderegger frequently speaks on topics such as

  • The Doctrine of God
  • Christology
  • Pneumatology
  • Ecclesiology
  • The Theology of Karl Barth
  • Christian Views of Jews and Judaism

Sonderegger is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Theological Society, the Karl Barth Society of America, and the New Haven Theological Discussion Group. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Anglican Theological Review.

Otherwise, she can be found gardening, riding her bike (the Silver Queen!), or sailing her day-sailer on Lake Champlain.

Ph.D. Brown University
M.Div. Yale University
STM Theology, Yale University
A.B. Medieval Studies, Smith College

Lectures

  • The Doctrine of God in Karl Barth lecture for Kampen-Princeton Barth Consultation, Princeton Seminary (2005).
  • In memoriam Colin Gunton, Reformed Theology and History Group, AAR (2003).
  • The Doctrine of Justification and the Cure of Souls, for “The Doctrine of Justification in Christ: Where Does the Church Stand Today?” Conference, Minneapolis (2002).
  • On Preaching in Karl Barth, Invited lecture at the regional meeting of the Karl Barth Society, North America (2001).
  • Jesus Christ the Same, Yesterday, Today and Forever, Invited lecture at the joint meeting of the Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer societies; Minneapolis, Minnesota (2000).
“There really is no more beautiful thought in all reality than the thought of God. I believe that theology is ultimately just that: thinking the thought of God and worshipping the Reality who is God.”
The Rev. Katherine Sonderegger, Ph.D.