Lamin Sanneh to Present the Smyth Lectures at Columbia

Distinguished scholar Dr. Lamin Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity at Yale Divinity School will present the Smyth Lectures at Columbia Theological Seminary on October 13-15, 2015.


Details About the 2015 Smyth Lectures:

Dr. Sanneh will deliver the following series of three lectures offered free to the public each day in the Harrington Center Chapel on the Columbia Seminary campus located at 701 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur, GA.


Tuesday, October 13 at 7:00 pm

“The New World and Renewal of Mission: The American Revolution Recast”


Wednesday, October 14 at 11:00 am

“The Dark Continent Breached: A Race Freed and a Society Formed”


Thursday, October 15 at 12 noon

“Chains Removed, Hope Revived” 


The American Revolution broke political ties with Britain, and in the process shattered old ideas of church and society. Old World ideas of birth and breeding gave way to New World values of opportunity and enterprise, offering a second chance to victims and the oppressed. Displaced and oppressed populations now mattered more as the agents and leaders than merely as the objects of mission. They and their Western supporters created the new pathway to change Africa from being the source of the slave trade to becoming its implacable enemy. The biographies of the New World Africans who spearheaded the missionary outreach to Africa offer a new understanding of the forces that brought about Africa's statistical transformation into the Christian stronghold it has become in our day. The lessons of this development are to be found in the ideas and values of the Founders of the New Republic.


About Dr. Lamin Sanneh:

Dr. Sanneh has written several books and over a hundred articles on various topics concerning religion and history. His most recent book Summoned from the Margin: Homecoming of an African (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012) tells the story of his fascinating journey from his upbringing in an impoverished village in West Africa to a distinguished career teaching at the Universities of Yale, Harvard, Aberdeen, and Ghana. Dr. Sanneh was born and raised in Gambia in a scholarly, aristocratic Islamic family. After studying at the University of Birmingham and the Near East School of Theology, Beirut, he earned his doctorate in Islamic History at the University of London. In addition to being a professor at Yale, he is an Honorary Professional Research Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. He is also the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.


Dr. Sanneh is an editor-at-large for The Christian Century, and serves on the board of several other journals. He is a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, and serves on the board of Ethics and Public Policy at Harvard University, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, AL. For his academic work, Dr. Sanneh was recognized as a Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Lion, Senegal's highest national honor. He has received an award as the John W. Kluge Chair in the Cultures and Societies of the South by the Library of Congress.


Now a practicing Catholic, Dr. Sanneh was appointed by Pope John Paul II as a member of the Pontifical Commission of the Historical Sciences and by Pope Benedict XVI as a member of the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations with Muslims. He has served as consultant to the Pew Charitable Trusts, an official consultant at the 1998 Lambeth Conference in London, and as a member of the Council of 100 Leaders of the World Economic Forum.


History of the Smyth Lectures and Columbia Theological Seminary:

The Smyth Lectures were established at Columbia Theological Seminary in 1911 by the bequest of the Rev. Thomas Smyth, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The aim was to establish “a course of lectures on the fundamental principles of the Christian faith.”  The Smyth Lectures are presented to the seminary community each year and are open to all ministers, lay people and members of the community who wish to attend.

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