Ray Barfield

Ray Barfield is Professor of Pediatrics and Christian Philosophy at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He received his MD and his PhD (in philosophy) from Emory University. He is a pediatric oncologist and palliative care physician with an interest in expanding the role of the humanities and the arts in the formation of physicians.

Ray has over 100 publications in medicine, philosophy, and literature, including several books: Life in the Blind Spot (poetry), The Ancient Quarrel Between Poetry and Philosophy, The Book of Colors (a novel), and most recently a book of philosophy called Wager: Beauty, Suffering, and Being in the World. Forthcoming books include Dante’s New Moon (poetry) and The Practice of Medicine as Being in Time (philosophy).

He was the founding director of two programs at Duke: Theology, Medicine, and Culture and Pediatric Palliative Care and Quality of Life. Currently he directs the Medical Humanities Program for the Trent Center in Duke’s Medical School, and teaches courses at the intersection of theology, philosophy, and medicine in the Divinity School. He is married to Karen, who is an Episcopal priest, and they have two children – Micah and Alexandra.

Ray co-teaches the HHL course, Storytelling in Medicine & Health.

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