Ted A. Smith

Associate Professor of Preaching and Ethics
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, tracing connections between everyday church life and basic questions of politics and culture. He is the author of two books, The New Measures: A Theological History of Democratic Process (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and Weird John Brown: Divine Violence and the Limits of Ethics (Stanford University Press, 2014), and has written numerous essays for both scholarly and popular publications. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Louisville Institute and on the editorial boards of Political Theology and Practical Matters. 

    Prior to coming to Candler Smith taught at Vanderbilt Divinity School, where he served as Director of the Program in Theology and Practice. At Emory Smith also teaches in the Graduate Division of Religion and is affiliated with the Center for the Study of Law and Religion.

    A Rhodes Scholar, Smith has been recognized for his academic achievements and ministerial excellence. He currently directs a major project funded by the Lilly Endowment, “Theological Education Between the Times: Consultations on the Meanings and Purposes of Theological Education,” which brings together scholars from a diverse array of institutions to consider the purposes of theological education in a time of great change.

    Ordained to ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Smith served two rural congregations before he began his doctoral studies. He continues to preach and teach widely.

    Selected publications

    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication

    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

    View a collection of Smith's articles on Christian Century. Christian Century,

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

    "Putting Flesh on Truthful Prayers of Confession," in Marginalia Review of Books and Political Theology Today. Los Angeles Review of Books,2015

    "Reasoning about Exceptions," in Political Theology, vol. 15, no. 5. Maney,2014

    "Troeltschian Questions for Ethnography as Christian Theology and Ethics," in Practical Matters, vol. 6. Emory University,2013

    "Theological History, Practical Reason, and the Demands of Preaching Today," in Homiletic, vol. 37, no. 2. Academy of Homeltics,2012

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

    "The Good, the Beautiful, and the Difference," in ARTS: Arts in Religious and Theological Studies, vol. 23, no. 3. Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies,2012

    Selected awards

    Grant for "Theological Education between the Times," Lilly Endowment, 2013.

    Research Scholar Fellowship, Office of the Provost, Vanderbilt University, 2012.

    Faculty Travel Grant, Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender and Sexuality, Vanderbilt University, 2010.

    Post-doctoral fellowship, Princeton University Center for the Study of Religion (declined), 2005.

    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, 1995.

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

    Rhodes Scholarship, Missouri and Jesus, 1990-1992.

    "The Law Fulfilled - God's Yes, God's No, God's Invitation" - 2015 Reformation Day Lecture, Pitts Theology Library

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

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

    Selected courses

    Preaching in a Secular Age

    Preaching Politics

    Political Theologies

    Introduction to Preaching

    Introduction to the Study of Religious Practices