The Rev. Ruthanna Hooke joined the VTS faculty in 2003. Her areas of interest and research include comparative religion, the Divine-human relationship in preaching, embodied preaching, the performing arts, the Linklater Voice Method, and the philosophies of Kierkegaard, Barth, Levinas, Irigaray, and Derrida. Dr. Hooke is an ordained Episcopal priest; prior to coming to VTS, she served parishes in the Diocese of Connecticut.
She received her A.B. degree summa cum laude from Harvard University, where she majored in Comparative Religion. She subsequently earned an M.A. in Performing Arts from Emerson College, where she studied the Linklater method of vocal training for actors, and became a Designated Linklater Voice Teacher. She received her M.Div. degree summa cum laude from Yale Divinity School, and her Ph.D. in Theology from Yale University. Her dissertation focused on the divine-human relationship in preaching, engaging the work of theologians Soren Kierkegaard and Karl Barth, and philosophers Emmanuel Levinas, Luce Irigaray, and Jacques Derrida.
Dr. Hooke has also worked as a program leader for the Iona Community in Scotland, a community organizer in Somerville, MA, and in an agency providing direct services to the homeless in Holyoke, MA. She currently serves as adjunct clergy at St. Thomas’ Parish, Washington, DC. She leads workshops and retreats focused on performance and vocal training for clergy and parishes, most recently for an association of Young Clergywomen at the Cathedral College of the National Cathedral.
Dr. Hooke published Transforming Preaching in 2010. Transforming Preaching argues for the importance of engaging and training the preacher’s body and voice so as to foster a fuller embodiment of the Word proclaimed, and includes interviews with notable preachers in the Episcopal Church.
Dr. Hooke is currently working on Real Presence: Preaching as an Embodied Event, which explores the meaning of the preacher’s bodily presence in preaching in dialogue with performance theory, recent Continental philosophy, and sacramental theology. She recently gave a presentation at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature entitled “Performance as a Bridge between Interpretation and Proclamation,” and was a keynote speaker at the 2008 Pennsylvania State Pastors’ Conference. She serves on the planning committee of the Homiletics and Biblical Studies Section of the Society of Biblical Literature.
Her recent courses at VTS have included The Preacher as Artist, Prophetic Preaching, Preaching Resurrection, Embodying the Sermon, and Performing and Preaching Paul’s Letter to the Philippians.
“The Spirit-Breathed Body: Divine Presence and Eschatological Promise in Preaching,” in Toward a Homiletical Theology of Promise, David Schnasa Jacobsen, ed. (Eugene: Cascade, 2019). Reproduced by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers.Read Chapter
“Real Presence: Sacramental Embodiment in Preaching,” in Preaching and the Theological Imagination, Cameron Partridge and Zachary Giuliano, eds. (Bern: Peter Lang, 2015). Reproduced by permission of Peter Lang.Read Chapter
“Poets of the Word: Literature as a Preaching Resource,” in Parental Guidance Advised: “Adult” Preaching from the Old Testament, Alyce M. McKenzie and Charles L. Aaron, eds. (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2013)
“The Personal and its Others in the Performance of Preaching,” in Preaching and the Personal, Dwayne Howell, ed. (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2013). Reproduced by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers.Read Chapter