Esther Chung-Kim, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Chair of the Religious Studies Department, Curriculum Committee


Religious Studies

Areas of Expertise

Religion & Politics
Religious Studies
Kravis Center

Office Hours

Monday, 12:30-1:30pm
Tuesday - Friday by Zoom appointment


Religious Studies professor specializing in the history of world Christianity, including the European Reformation. Her research examines religious conflict, poor relief, and the impact of religion on politics, economics, and society. She regularly teaches seminars on Poverty, Wealth and Social Change, European Reformations, and Christianity and Politics in East Asia. Her most recent journal articles include: "Aid for Refugees: Religion, Migration and Poor Relief in Sixteenth-century Geneva," in Reformation and Renaissance Review 20:1 (2018) and "Calvin and his Lutheran Critics," in John Calvin in Context (Cambridge: 2020).


B.A. Drew University, M.Div. Princeton, Ph.D. Duke University

Awards and Affiliations

Sabbatical Grant for Researchers - Louisville Institute 

Duke Scholars on Leadership Education

Dean's Summer Faculty Fellowship

Wesley Summer Seminar Fellowship, Duke University

Research Exchange Fellowship, Eberhards-Karls Universität, Tübingen, Germany

Phi Beta Kappa

Wabash Teaching and Learning Fellowship

Gould Center Faculty Research Grant

Research and Publications

Reformation Commentary on Scripture: Acts (February 2014)

Inventing Authority: The Use of the Church Fathers in Reformation Debates over the Eucharist (March 2011).


Chung-Kim, Esther, “Virtual Connection: Teaching Religion and Politics in East Asia Online in the Era of COVID-19,” Sixteenth Century Journal 51, no. S1 [Special Edition on Teaching] (September 2020).

"Calvin and his Lutheran Critics," John Calvin in Context (Cambridge University Press, January 2020), 345-354.

“Reforming Religion Includes Poor Relief,” Blog for the Lumen Center, Aarhus University, Denmark  (October 2019).

"Reception in the Renaissance and Reformation," Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Biblical Interpretation (Oxford University Press, July 2019), 686-703.

"Aid for Refugees: Religion, Migration, and Poor Relief in Sixteenth-Century Geneva," Reformation and Renaissance Review 20:1 (March 2018): 4-17. 

Review of All Things Made New: The Reformation and its Legacy by Diarmaid MacCulloch in Church History 87:3 (September 2018).

"Advocating for Poor Relief in Zurich: Heinrich Bullinger's Contributions to Religious Ideals and Swiss Policy Reforms," Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 86:2 (June 2017). 

"John Calvin on Poverty and Wealth," (2016)

"The Lord's Supper," (2011)

"Use of Wealth in the Christian Life: John Calvin's Biblical Interpretation," (2009) 

"Use of the Fathers in the Eucharistic Debates between John Calvin and Joachim Westphal," (2009)


Presenter, "Johannes Bugenhagen: Responsibility for the Deserving Poor," Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, St. Louis, Oct 2019. 

Speaker, "Bullinger's Advocacy Work for the Poor in Zurich," The Meeter Center, Calvin College, Sept 2019.

Keynote Speaker, “Caring for the Deserving: Wittenberg Reformers on Poor Relief,” Lumen Center Symposium, Aarhus University, Denmark, Feb 2019.

Speaker, “Advocacy for the Poor in Zurich: Heinrich Bullinger’s Contributions to Religious Ideals and Policy Reforms,” Institute for Swiss Reformation History, University of Zurich, Switzerland, Feb 2019.

Presenter, “Aid for the Refugees,” Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Albuquerque, NM, Nov 2018.

Chair and Respondent, “Exiles in the Early Modern Period,” Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Albuquerque, NM, Nov 2018.

Chair and Respondent, “Reception of the Early Church in the Reformation,” American Historical Association and American Society of Church History, Washington D.C., Jan 2018.