Jacob Leal


BA, Vanguard University of Southern California / MTS, Duke Divinity School / PhD, Boston University (present)




Jacob is a Mexican-American Texas native whose research is influenced by his abuela’s stories of visitations from ancestors. After realizing the uniqueness of ancestral veneration to the Mexican experience, he quickly grew passionate about specializing in the metaphysical presence of the dead in the everyday lives of his people. Jacob will use biblical passages such as Matthew 17:1-13—where Christ’s disciples interact with their ancestors Elijah and Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration—and read them alongside Mexican ideas of the dead prominent in events such as Dia de Muertos. By doing this, he hopes to liberate his abuela’s understanding of the ancestor from European theologies which deem interactions with the dead as taboo. His passion for theological research and training continues to grow the more he realizes the importance of inclusive academic work which creates opportunities for Latinxs, like his abuela, to tell their stories. He strives to be a professor whose office is a safe space for students in marginalized groups, especially those within the Latinx community.