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Passion for Latin, Classics Lead Hane ’22 to Yale Divinity School


When Jacob Hane ’22 began studying Latin in middle school, he never imagined it would lead him to pursue graduate studies at a divinity school. But through that love for Latin came a love for the classics, and through that, an interest in the New Testament and its cultural significance. In the fall, Hane will attend Yale Divinity School on a merit scholarship to earn a master of arts in religion.

Toward the end of his junior year, Hane floated the idea of attending Yale to Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Sarah Griffis, whose interdisciplinary work in the classics and religious studies aligns well with Hane’s own interests. He met Griffis the previous year when one of her courses, Sites of Divine Encounter, didn’t fit in his semester schedule. After he explained his interest in the material, Griffis agreed to work independently with him. Since then she has become his advocate and mentor. 

“I told her that I had been considering applying [to Yale], and she was instantly fully on board,” Hane said. “[Griffis] helped me understand the campus and the people and develop a really good application. She got me very excited for a program that previously I didn’t really see myself at.”                                                                                                          

Jacob hane '22

Major: Classical Languages

Hometown: Williamstown, Mass.

High School: Mount Greylock Regional School

Clubs: Founded Classics Club; Founder and editor of Haley Classical Journal

read about other members of the class of 2022

Hane is most excited for the research opportunities at Yale Divinity School. During his sophomore year, he founded The Haley Classical Journal, which not only exposed him to a broader scope of research, but also helped him develop his writing and conference presentational skills. 

Hane also cultivated his research skills in the classroom. His classical and religious studies professors often gave him the freedom to take a term paper and transform it into a topic of interest. Through this, Hane realized his passion for studying early Christianity and its intersection with empire, identity, and perceptions of cultural others. 

“What really drew me to the study of identity was just being able to see the marginal humans that have existed historically,” he said. “There are a lot of people left out of the historical record when you just talk about Greece and Rome. For example, especially now with all of the horrid anti-trans and anti-LGBT legislation, it’s critical to be able to look back and see that gender [issues] have always existed.”

Hane’s passion for research fuels his future career goals. Though he wants to keep an open mind during his two years at Yale, he hopes to eventually teach and research at a professional level — specifically at a liberal arts college like Hamilton.

“I’m going into this eyes wide open and knowing it’ll probably be a challenging road,” Hane said. “But I think it would be very rewarding to continue this work and research as a career.”

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