Yale University Divinity School Professor Lamin Sanneh to explore the "cultural estrangement" between the West and the Muslim world at Fairfield University's Christopher F. Mooney, S.J. Lecture



The September 11 attacks came as a shock not only to Americans but to much of the leadership of the Muslim world, according to Yale University Divinity School Professor Lamin Sanneh, Ph. D. The tragedy also underscored that a "cultural estrangement" continues to exist between the West and the Muslim world, while the West's reigning secular worldview creates a blind spot.

Dr. Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity at Yale, will explore those themes when he delivers Fairfield University's 15th Annual Christopher F. Mooney, S.J. Lecture in Theology, Religion, and Society, on Wednesday, Nov. 19. Presented by the Center for Catholic Studies, the event is free and open to the public. It will take place in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business Dining Room at 8 p.m. For more information, call (203) 254-4000, ext. 3415 or visit www.fairfield.edu/catholicstudies.

In a talk entitled, "The Fall of Constantinople and the Fall of the Twin Towers," Dr. Sanneh will pose the question of how much work religions still need to do to promote a culture of peace and understanding. Weaving together a fascinating history lesson that will touch upon the Crusades, Frederick II of Sicily, the Black Plague, Constantinople, and Sultan Mohammed II, Dr. Sanneh hopes to provide an understanding of the "spirit of Islam."

Dr. Sanneh was appointed by Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Commission of the Historical Sciences, and by Pope Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations with Muslims. He is the author of numerous books and more than a hundred articles on religious and historical subjects. His most recent book is, "Whose Religion is Christianity? The Gospel Beyond the West," (Grand Rapids, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003). He was chairman of Yale's Council on African Studies. He is an editor-at-large of the ecumenical weekly, "The Christian Century," and he serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals and encyclopedias. He has served as consultant to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

For his academic work, Dr. Sanneh was made Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Lion, Senegal's highest national honor, and was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He earned an M.A. from the University of Birmingham, in England, and a Ph. D. from the University of London.

The Christopher F. Mooney, S.J., Lecture honors Fr. Mooney, a former Fairfield University academic vice president who died in 1993. Fr. Mooney was the author of eight books, including "Teilhard de Chardin and the Mystery of Christ," (Collins and Harper & Row) which won the National Catholic Book Award in 1966, and "Public Virtue: Law and the Social Character of Religion" (University of Notre Dame Press), which won the 1987 national award of Alpha Sigma Nu. Before joining the Fairfield faculty, he was president of Woodstock College and was assistant dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 4, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 116