March 2, 2005 Lamin Sanneh to Discuss "The Changing Face of Christianity" on March 10

Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at (202) 707-6362

Lamin Sanneh, holder of the Chair of Countries and Cultures of the South at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, will discuss “The Changing Face of Christianity: Africa, the West and the World,” at noon on Thursday, March 10, in Room LJ-119 of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Sanneh, together with Joel A. Carpenter of Calvin College, edited a book of the same title published earlier this year by Oxford University Press.

The event, which is sponsored by the Kluge Center, is free and open to the public; no reservations are required.

Over the past century, Christianity’s place and role in the world have changed dramatically. In 1900, 80 percent of the world’s Christians lived in Europe and North America. Today more than 60 percent of the world’s Christians live outside of those continents. Sanneh’s book calls for a reexamination of the way the story of Christianity is told, the methodological tools for its analysis, its modes of expression and the role of Africa as the new Christian heartland.

The volume offers nine new essays addressing these changes and their importance for the future of Christianity. Some contributions consider the development of “non-Western” forms of Christianity, while others look at the impact of these new kinds of Christianity in the West. The authors cover a wide range of topics, from the integration of witchcraft and Christianity in Nigeria and the peacemaking role of churches in Mozambique to the American Baptist reception of Asian Christianity.

In addition to his position at the Library of Congress, Sanneh is professor of history and D. Willis James Professor of World Christianity at Yale University. He has written a number of books related to religion in Africa, including “Whose Religion Is Christianity?: The Gospel Beyond the West” (2003); “The Crown and the Turban: Muslims and West African Pluralism” (1997); “Religion and the Variety of Culture: A Study in Origin and Practice,” (1996); and “West African Christianity: The Religious Impact” (1983).

Sanneh is honorary research professor in the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and is a life member of Clare Hall at Cambridge University. He was chairman of Yale’s Council on African Studies and is a member of the Board of the Institute for Advanced Christian Studies, an editor-at-large of the ecumenical weekly The Christian Century, and a contributing editor of the International BulletinMissionary Research.

Sanneh has served as consultant to the Pew Charitable Trusts and was an official consultant at the 1998 Lambeth Conference in London. He was recently appointed by Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Commission for the Historical Sciences. For his academic work, Sanneh was made Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Lion, Senegal’s highest national honor.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize scholarly discussion, distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information about any of the fellowships, grants and programs offered by the John W. Kluge Center, contact the Office of Scholarly Programs, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4860; telephone (202) 707-3302, fax (202) 707-3595, or visit the Web at


PR 05-041
ISSN 0731-3527