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Doctor of Divinity

From Academic Kids

Doctor of Divinity (D.D., Divinitatis Doctor in Latin) historically refers to one licensed by a university to teach Christian theology or related religious subjects. In the United Kingdom, D.D. has traditionally been the highest doctorate granted by universities, usually conferred upon a religious scholar of standing and distinction. In descending order of seniority, the D.D. degree is followed by LL.D. (or D.C.L.) for law, Litt.D (or D.Litt.) for letters, and Sc.D (or D.Sc.) for science.

The high status of the D.D. qualification in British universities owed to their traditional affiliation with the Christian church and to their original mission of training clergymen. As universities became increasingly secular in the 20th century, the D.D. degree lost much of its preeminence. Today, a D.D. degree is usually granted as an honorary doctorate upon a distinguished individual whose work has been connected with religion. In most English-speaking universities, a graduate student who has completed a doctoral course of study and research in religion will usually receive a Ph.D. or a Th.D, rather than a D.D.

A well-known piece of humorous doggerel runs

A young theologian named Fiddle
refused to accept his degree
"It's bad enough being named Fiddle,
Without being Fiddle, D.D."

In an other instance of D.D. being used in literature for humorous purposes, Kurt Vonnegut's novel Mother Night features the character of a deranged neo-Nazi dentist, the Rev. Dr. Lionel Jones, D.D.S., D.D.

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