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Rev. Eboni Marshall Turman, Ph.D.
Rev. Eboni Marshall Turman, Ph.D.
The Reverend Eboni Marshall Turman, Ph.D. is the assistant professor of theology and African American religion at Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, CT. A first-career concert dancer and ordained National Baptist preacher, her research interests span the varieties of 20th century US theological liberalisms, most especially Black and womanist theological, social ethical, and theo-aesthetic traditions.
An author, minister, professor, and public theologian, the Reverend Dr. Turman is a refreshing addition to our most pressing national discussions of faith, race and gender. With a decidedly womanist point of view, hers stands out as one of very few scholarly millennial voices offering moral perspective on issues facing the Black community.
At a time in our history when the Black church and Black lives are once again under constant siege, Dr. Turman has committed her research, scholarship and platform to a nuanced exploration of the most marginalized among us.
A trailblazer in the church and academy, her pioneering spirit has earned her many rare distinctions. She is the youngest woman to be named Assistant Minister of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City (2002-2012), and the second woman to preside over the ordinances in its 210-year history. She formerly served as Director of Black Church Studies at Duke University Divinity School (2013-2016).
She is the only womanist theological ethicist on faculty at Yale Divinity School and the recipient of the 2018 Inspiring Yale award; a 2017-18 Yale Public Voices fellow; one of Ebony Magazine’s Young Faith Leaders in the Black Community; included on the Network Journal’s prestigious 40 Under 40 List; named as one of the “Top 5 Young Preachers in America” by ROHO; and Auburn Theological Seminary’s 2017 “Lives of Commitment” honoree.
A highly sought after speaker and thinker, Dr. Turman is featured in the acclaimed 2018 documentary film, The Gospel According to André Leon Talley, where she discusses the intersection of faith and fashion in the Black Church. She has shared her ideas at Fordham University, Princeton Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, McCormick Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, among other colleges and universities, as well as regularly from pulpits around the world. In 2014, Dr. Turman was inducted into the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collegium of Scholars. Her opinions on race, faith, and gender have been published by the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and Dallas Morning News among others.
Tackling the taboo topic of sexism in the Black Church, Dr. Turman owns her millennial sensibility and is unflinchingly honest in her critique of our most revered institutions. She dispels the notion of “a woman’s place” in church and society. Building upon the literary, intellectual, activist foundations of Alice Walker, W.E.B DuBois, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett in 2013 Dr. Turman published her seminal work Toward a Womanist Ethic of Incarnation: Black Bodies, the Black Church and the Council of Chalcedon. The first womanist book-length treatment of conciliar tradition in relationship to black Christian life, in it she explores the sexism that pervades the black church and chips away at the moral justification for black women’s social subordination.
She is currently completing two monographs, tentatively titled, Black Women’s Burden: Sexism, Violence, and the Black Church, and Loves the Spirit: The Womanist Theological Idea. Through her research and scholarship, Dr. Turman is transforming the way we frame the Black experience, the contemporary movement for Black lives, and the moral significance of the Black community specifically the 21st century black church.
Beyond academia, Dr. Turman is passionate about helping Black women rise above and function through systemic gender bias, racism and exploitation. She offers women tools for vocational, professional, and personal success, empowering them to step into leadership and assert themselves more fully in male dominant environments. As a justice advocate, Dr. Turman challenges how the Black community is represented and engaged in the public square. As a gifted teacher, she empowers Black people from the heart and shows them how to interpret Christian teachings to transform their lives, change their communities, and create healthier relationships, brighter leadership prospects and personal fulfillment.
Dr. Turman’s unapologetic passion for the Black community is perhaps only matched by her passion for young minds. As the face of womanist theological ethics at Yale University Divinity School, she is pushing the boundaries of scholarship, while training the next generation of moral leaders and expanding their vision for what is possible in church and society.
Dr. Turman holds degrees in philosophy, theology, and Christian ethics from Fordham University and Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, respectively. Her favorite scripture is found in Luke 1:45, “And blessed is she that believed, for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” She lives in New York City with her wonderful spouse, Rossie E. Turman III, Esq., and their beautiful daughters, Haarlem and Kroux.