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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, the disclosive power of Scripture, psychology of religion, psychodynamic theory, play studies, and humanity’s deepening relationship with technology. He has published five 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. And, Growing down: Theology and human nature in the virtual age (Baylor University Press, 2017). His forthcoming book, The Millennial Narrative: Sharing a good life with the next generation, will be released this August. The book focuses on the importance of the narrative in the Book of Joel for persons who are spiritual but not religious. He is also working on Pastoral virtues for Artificial Intelligence, for Lexington Books. This book explores how artificial intelligence can be compassionate, patient, grateful, and portray hope and wisdom and not only seek efficiency, productivity, and cost savings.

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 elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), 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 Our Place Nashville 2014 with Vanderbilt University alum, Ms. Carolyn Naifeh. In partnership with Vanderbilt Divinity School and Urban Housing Solutions, the OPN created two Divinity Friendship Houses at Vanderbilt. Eighteen seminarians live in close community and in affordable housing alongside eleven adults with an intellectual and/or developmental disability. OPN receive a grant to build a third and a forth Friendship House, this time in partnership with Woodbine Community Organization. These two houses will incorporate displaced Nashville elderly. The third Friendship House will open in 2019.

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.

Updated: April 12, 2018