Born in 1927 in New Jersey, David Hopper received his early education in the public school system of South Orange/Maplewood, New Jersey. He served briefly in the U. S. Navy at the end of World War II and entered Yale College shortly after his military discharge in August, 1946.  He graduated from Yale in 1950 (B.A.) and subsequently attended and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary (B.D./ M.Th., 1953). After a year of study in Bonn, Germany (Friedrich Wilhelms Üniversität), Hopper took up graduate studies at Princeton Seminary, receiving the Th.D./Ph.D in 1959.


From 1959 to 2001, Hopper was a professor in the Religious Studies Department at Macalester Collegewhere he taught many courses, including:

  • Modern Christian Thought 
  • Existentialism: Atheistic and Theistic
  • Science and Religion
  • Technology and Ethics
  • The Thought of the Reformation
  • Seminars on Kierkegaard, Niebuhr, Tillich, and Bonhoeffer 

Since his retirement, Hopper has taught at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, hosted  by the University of Minnesota. His recent Osher courses include: “The Theological Struggle against the Nazis” and “The Speeches of Abraham Lincoln” (which also addressed the question of Lincoln’s religious convictions).


His books include: Tillich: A Theological Portrait (J.B. Lipppincott, 1967), A Dissent On Bonhoeffer (Westminster, 1975), Technology, Theology, and the Idea of Progress (Westminster/John Knox, 1991). His most recent book, Divine Transcendence and the Culture of Change, was published by W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. in December, 2010.