Sarah Coakley came to Harvard in 1993, hired as part of then-dean Ronald Thiemann’s plan to bring more religiously committed faculty to Harvard Divinity School. (Jon Levenson, an Orthodox Jew, was hired at about the same time.) If Thiemann wanted someone who embodied the soul of Anglicanism—both its theological commitments and its style—he could hardly have chosen better.
When I talked to Yale theologian Miroslav Volf last summer, he was being considered as possible dean of Harvard Divinity School. He had told Harvard’s president Lawrence Summers quite clearly that if he were to head the school, he would want to lead HDS back to its roots in constructive theology and the formation of Christian ministers.