The Rev. William Stafford, Ph.D.

William Stafford

Visiting Professor of Church History
B.A., Stanford University.
M.A., M.Phil., Yale University
Université de Strasbourg: Faculté de théologie protestante
Ph.D., Yale University
D.D., Virginia Theological Seminary


A San Francisco native, Bill Stafford was a professor of church history at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) from 1976-2004, and also served as associate dean for academic affairs there from 1997-2004. He was dean of the School of Theology at University of the South (Sewanee) from 2004 until 2012.

Why I Teach

My chief love is scholarly teaching. I study and teach as a Christian and a priest, but with an open ear to the non-Christians around me. Having taught the history of Christianity and historical theology professionally since 1970, and in a seminary of the church since 1976, I delight to help people find their way into the astonishing riches of the Christian tradition—spiritual, intellectual, political, social, aesthetic treasures, life-giving resources for the world. At VTS I taught the introductory sequence in church history and historical theology in many forms; elective courses in the English reformation, patristic, medieval, and reformation theologians, historical spirituality, and liturgics. I take the critical intellectual dimension of human life very seriously, as integrated in the wholeness of life lived in relationship with God, and serving the mission of the church. One way I support that is by intense critical study and occasional publication in my field, when other duties make that possible. I am presently at work on a book-length study of the piety of late medieval common lawyers in England.