Princeton Seminary welcomes Willie James Jennings, MDiv, PhD, as the 2018 Geddes W. Hanson Lecturer. Jennings, associate professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at Yale University Divinity School, is a renowned theologian and sought-after speaker, particularly on issues related to Christianity and race.
The lecture will be held at Miller Chapel on Oct. 17 at 3 p.m.
"I have heard Dr. Jennings lecture and what has resonated with me was his characterization of racism as a theological and political production," says Kermit Moss, interim director of the Center for Black Church Studies.
"Additionally, Jennings astutely makes the point that racialized interpretations of biblical texts during the patristic period and the Reformation gave theological sanction to European colonialist activity," he adds.
Jennings' work in post-colonial and race theory culminates in his most recent book, The Christian Imagination: Theology and Origins in Race (Yale University Press), widely regarded as one of the most important books in theology written in the last 25 years. His book remains a standard text read in colleges, seminaries and universities.
The Geddes W. Hanson Lectureship is a biennial program hosted by the Seminary's Association of Black Seminarians to bring clergy, scholars and leaders whose service to the church is focused on the ministry of African American congregations and other racial and ethnic-minority communities.
More on the Rev. Dr. Willie James Jennings
Jennings was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. He received a bachelor’s degree in Religion and Theological Studies from Calvin College in 1984, a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., and a doctoral degree from Duke University. Jennings who is a systematic theologian teaches in the areas of theology, black church and Africana studies, as well as post-colonial and race theory.
Jennings is the recipient of the 2015 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his groundbreaking work on race and Christianity. Also, his recently authored commentary on the Book of Acts has won the Reference Book of the Year Award from The Academy of Parish Clergy and now Jennings is hard at work on a book about the doctrine of creation, tentatively entitled, Reframing the World.
In addition to being a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities and seminaries, Jennings is also a regular workshop leader at pastor conferences. Additionally, he is a consultant for the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, and for the Association of Theological Schools.
Jennings served along with his wife, Rev. Joanne L. Browne Jennings, as associate minister at the Mount Level Baptist Church in Durham, NC, and for many years they served together as interim pastors for several Presbyterian and Baptist churches throughout the state. They are the parents of two wonderful daughters, Njeri and Safiya Jennings.
“One of the biggest lessons I learned was how to be charitable to views other than my own. Christian charity was shown to me, not just in the readings for class, but from the professors, and the Seminary community.”