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David L. Dungan Memorial Lecture Series

The David L. Dungan Memorial Lecture honors the late David L. Dungan who was Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee from 1967-2002. The lecture occurs each spring and brings eminent scholars to Knoxville who specialize in early Christianity, as well as academic experts on the contemporary religious issues that so concerned David Dungan, such as the environment, politics, war and peace, missions, and Christianity in the world today.

Biography of David L. Dungan

David Laird DunganDavid Laird Dungan (1936–2008) was Distinguished Professor of the Humanities and Emeritus Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a leading scholar of the synoptic problem.  As a member of the Research Team of the International Institute for Gospel Studies, he took the name of UTK's Department of Religious Studies out into the world with his original scholarship on New Testament sources and interpretations. The son of Presbyterian missionaries, Dungan was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and lived in Shanghai, China (until 1940), and in Berea, Kentucky, where he graduated from high school in 1953. He earned degrees from The College of Wooster (B.A. 1957), McCormick Seminary in Chicago (B.D. 1963), and Harvard Divinity School (Th.D. 1968).  During his tenure at UT (1967- 2002), he established a reputation as an inspirational and provocative teacher of courses in biblical literature, church history, images of Jesus, environmental studies, and the legacy of the Vietnam War. He frequently spoke on these issues to religious communities in the Knoxville region. Dungan was a Distinguished Lindsay Young Professor, a founding member of the Institute for the Renewal of Gospel Studies, and was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Faculty Prize at UT in 2000. He was also invited to teach at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome in 1976-1977 and again in 2006. He died suddenly on November 30, 2008. In terms of his publications, he was perhaps best known for his 1999 book, A History of the Synoptic Problem: the Canon, the Text, the Composition, and the Interpretation of the Gospels (Doubleday), as well as his co-edited work, The International Bible Commentary (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998).  His most recent book was Constantine's Bible: Politics and the Making of the New Testament (Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2006).  A full list of his publications is available at

  • For information on upcoming and previous Dungan Lectures, click here.


Donate NowBy contributing to the David L. Dungan Memorial Lecture Series you will help support an annual lecture to honor the late Professor Dungan and help bring in leading scholars of religion to the campus and wider Knoxville community. If you are interested in contributing to the Dungan Memorial Lecture Series, you can make an online contribution here To make it in honor of David Dungan, scroll down to the "This is an honorary or memorial gift" section, select "In Memory of," and then type in David Dungan in the name field.

Or send a check payable to the University of Tennessee - Department of Religious Studies. Please indicate that the check is for the Dungan Lecture and mail it to the address below:

University of Tennessee
Department of Religious Studies
501 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996-0450


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