Ted A. Smith

Charles Howard Candler Professor of Divinity; Associate Dean of Faculty
Ted A. Smith
Phone: 404.727.4231
    • PhD, Emory University, 2004
    • MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary, 1995
    • MA, Oxford University, 1992
    • BA, Duke University, 1990

    The Rev. Dr. Ted A. Smith works at the intersections of practical and political theology. At Candler, Smith teaches especially in the areas of preaching and ethics. He also serves as director of Theological Education between the Times, a project that gathers diverse groups of people to think together about the meanings and purposes of theological education. With Dr. Joanne Solis-Walker, he is co-Principal Investigator of Candler’s innovative Pathways for Tomorrow initiatives.

    Smith is the author of three books: The End of Theological Education (Eerdmans, 2023), Weird John Brown (Stanford, 2015), and The New Measures (Cambridge, 2007). Together these books try to think theologically about core American Protestant institutions, practices, values, and rhetoric in a time when they are unraveling. Smith has also edited books on sexuality and ordinationcontemporary issues in preaching, and economic inequality, along with a series of books on theological education.

    Beyond Candler, Smith teaches in the ethics and practical theology courses of study in Emory’s Ph.D. program in Religion and serves as a senior fellow with the University of Virginia’s project on Religion and Its Publics and as affiliated faculty with Emory Law School’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion. He also serves on the editorial boards for Political Theology, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, and Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology.

    Ordained to ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Smith served as pastor to two small-membership churches in rural New York prior to his doctoral studies.

    Selected publications

    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication


    The End of Theological Education, Theological Education between the Times, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2023

    Weird John Brown: Divine Violence and the Limits of Ethics, Stanford University Press, 2014

    The New Measures: A Theological History of Democratic Practice, Cambridge University Press, 2007

    Co-editor,Spirit and Capital in an Age of Inequality, Routledge, 2018

    Co-editor,Questions Preachers Ask: Essays in Honor of Thomas G. Long, Westminster John Knox Press, 2016

    Chapters and Articles

    “The Education of Authenticity,” The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, 42:1 (Fall/Winter 2022), 289-306

    “On Pardon, Reparations, and a Politics of Penitence,” Journal of Lutheran Ethics, April 2022

    “Learning from Teología En Conjunto,” Perspectivas, HTI 25th Anniversary Issue, 2021

    “The Time of Revelation,” in Narrative Mode and Theological Claim in Johannine Literature: Essays in Honor of Gail R. O’Day, ed. Huber, Hylen, and Wright, (SBL, 2021)

    View a collection of Smith's articles in Christian Century

    "On Covenant, Irony, Providence, and the Stance of the Prophet: Thoughts in Light of Cathleen Kaveny’s Prophecy without Contempt," in Journal of Law and Religion, vol. 34, no. 3, 2019

    "The Mark of Cain: Sovereign Negation and the Politics of God," Modern Theology, October 31, 2019

    "'Knowing Who,' A Sermon on Proverbs 8:1-21," Cross Current, June 27, 2019

    Co-editor of special issue of ,Theological Education, vol. 51, no. 2, January 01, 2018

    "Political Theology through a History of Preaching: A Study in the Authority of Celebrity," Homiletics, vol. 42, no. 1, July 07, 2017

    "Eschatological Memories of Everyday Life," in Lived Theology: New Perspectives on Method, Style and Pedagogy in Theological and Religious Studies, Oxford University Press, January 01, 2016

    "On the State of Political Theology Today," Political Theology Today, September 16, 2016

    "From Silkworms to Songbirds: Why We No Longer Preach Like Jonathan Edwards," Commonweal, September 28, 2015

    "Putting Flesh on Truthful Prayers of Confession," Marginalia Review of Books and Political Theology Today, March 02, 2015

    "Politics in the Wake of Divine Violence," Studies in Christian Ethics, vol. 25, no. 4, November 21, 2014

    "Reasoning about Exceptions," Political Theology, vol. 15, no. 5, September 01, 2014

    Selected awards

    Co-Principal Investigator, “Pathways for Tomorrow” (Lilly Endowment), Phase 1: 2021; Phase 2: 2021-2023; Phase 3: 2021-2026

    Weird John Brown a finalist for AAR Excellence in the Study of Religion Award (Constructive-Reflective Studies), 2015

    Senior Fellow, Religion and Its Publics, University of Virginia

    Principle Investigator, "Theological Education between the Times," funded by the Lilly Endowment, Phase I: 2013, Phase II: 2016, Phase III: 2019

    Research Scholar Fellowship, Office of the Provost, Vanderbilt University

    Faculty Travel Grant, Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender and Sexuality, Vanderbilt University

    Woodruff Fellowship, Emory University, 1999-2004

    Bandy Fellowship in Preaching, Emory University, 1999-2002

    Elias Boudinot Award for excellence in small church ministry, 1997

    Roberts Scholarship in Preaching, Princeton Theological Seminary, 1994

    Wailes Memorial Prize in New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary, 1994

    Rhodes Scholarship, Missouri and Jesus, 1990

    "No Longer Shall They Teach One Another: The End of Theological Education" - (four lectures), Sprunt Lectures, Union Presbyterian Seminary (2021)

    "Theological Education between the Times," - Hispanic Theological Initiative Open Plaza podcast (2021)

    "The Theological Dripline: The Future of Theological Education," - The Ministry Collaborative Podcast (2021)

    "Finding a faithful way forward for theological education" - Faith & Leadership (October 13, 2020)

    "Theological Education Between The Times – A Project" - The Wabash Center's Dialogue on Teaching podcast (June 15, 2020)

    "Reckless Love: On Living for Things that Die," TheoEd Talk, Webcast Public Lecture at the Carter Center, Atlanta (2019)

    Service of Word and Table, Cannon Chapel (November 1, 2018)

    Service of Word and Table, Cannon Chapel (February 21, 2017)

    "Theological Education Between the Times" - Candler Practical Ministry Webinars (November 9, 2016)

    "Weird John Brown Symposium" - Syndicate (August 1, 2016)

    "Seven Questions for Ted Smith" - Sacred Matters (November 13, 2015)

    "The Law Fulfilled - God's Yes, God's No, God's Invitation" - Reformation Day at Emory (October 22, 2015)

    "America's Changing Religious Landscape" - "On Second Thought" radio show, Georgia Public Broadcasting (June 2, 2015)

    "Great Birds of the Kingdom" - Prophetic Voices Centennial Academic Conference, Cannon Chapel (March 19, 2015)

    "Later Days: Isaiah 2:1-5: 1st Sunday of Advent - Year A" - Day1 (December 1, 2013)

    "Preaching without Notes: Worship in an Age of Authenticity" - Candler Practical Ministry Webinars (September 20, 2013)

    "Eschatological Memories of Everyday Life" - University of Virginia (June 4, 2013)

    "The Body We Can See From Here" - Sermon at the Conference of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians (2009)

    Selected courses

    Critical Theory and Religion

    Preaching in a Secular Age

    Preaching Politics

    Introduction to Preaching

    Introduction to the Study of Religious Practices

    Research and Methods in the Study of Religion