Duke Divinity School professor Willie James Jennings receives Grawemeyer Award

Willie JenningsWillie James Jennings has received the prestigious 2015 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his book, The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race.

In his book, Jennings explores Christianity’s contribution to segregation and racism in America beginning in colonial times. He names broken relationships between people and land and rifts between Christianity and Judaism as key factors, arguing that a renewal of Christian imagination must take place to heal those divides.

“His book contains brilliant flashes of insight into Christianity and racial oppression,” said Shannon Craigo-Snell, a Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary professor who directs the award. “He also sheds light on how Christianity has the potential to foster more just and respectful relations between religious and racial groups.”

H. Charles Grawemeyer created the Grawemeyer Awards at the University of Louisville in 1984 with the intent that the awards recognize ideas rather than life-long or personal achievement. Both the University of Louisville and the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary present the religion award.

Jennings is currently an associate professor of Theology and Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School. A participant in the Project on Lived Theology’s SILT 2013, Jennings delivered a presentation entitled, “Theology’s Crippled Imagination.” An edited version of his SILT paper will be included in the forthcoming Lived Theology: New Perspectives on Method, Style, and Pedagogy in Religious and Theological Studies.

For more information about Jennings and the Grawemeyer Awards, click here. To watch a recording of Jennings’s 2013 SILT presentation, click here.