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Jaco Hamman

Associate Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture
Director of the Program in Theology and Practice

Jaco J. Hamman’s research interests include the formation of pastoral leaders, psychology of religion, psychodynamic theory, play studies, and humanity’s deepening relationship with technology. He has published four books: When Steeples Cry: Leading congregations through loss and change (Pilgrim Press, 2005), Becoming a pastor: Forming self and soul for ministry (Pilgrim Press 2007) and A play-full life: Slowing down and seeking peace (Pilgrim Press, 2011). Becoming a Pastor was greatly revised in a 2nd edition in 2014. Growing down: Human nature for virtual people is forthcoming (2016) from Baylor University Press. His current projects focuses on the Biblical prophet Joel and on the secular and religious narratives people live by.

A native of South Africa, he has completed his studies in South Africa, at Princeton Theological Seminary, and at the Blanton-Peale Graduate Institute (New York City).  Hamman has lectured widely in North America, Southern Africa, Bangladesh, Australia, and New Zealand. Professor Hamman is a Section Editor (Pastoral Counseling) for The Encyclopedia of Psychology of Religion (Springer Reference) and on the Editorial Board of Sacred Spaces, e-journal of The American Association of Pastoral Counselors. He is a regular reviewer for Pastoral Psychology. An ordained pastor in the Reformed Church in America, Hamman was Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Western Theological Seminary (Holland, MI) for eleven years prior to joining Vanderbilt Divinity School in 2012.

Hamman co-founded The Nashville Intellectual and Developmental Disabilties Housing Group in 2014 with Vanderbilt University alum, Ms. Carolyn Naifeh. In partnership with Vanderbilt Divinity School and Urban Housing Solutions, the NIDDHG created Divinity Friendship House at Vanderbilt in 2015. Eight seminarians live in close community with three young adults with an intellectual and/or developmental disability. A second Divinity Friendship House is anticipated to open in 2016.

As director of the Program in Theology and Practice, Hamman coordinates the training of a generation of professors who are outstanding teachers of people preparing for ministry and groundbreaking scholars engaged in practical theological inquiry.


Hamman, Jaco. “The Organ of Tactility: Fantasy, Image, and Male Masturbation.” Pastoral Psychology (2018).

Post-print:  free access  •  Published:  Vanderbilt access | non-Vanderbilt access (purchase may be required)

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Pastoral Psychology. The final authenticated version is available online at:

Listen to an interview about this article


Jaco Hamman talks about his book Growing Down: Theology and Human Nature in the Virtual Age. Listen to the interview