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 Smith works at the intersections of practical and political theology. Smith’s first book, The New Measures, tells a history of preaching that gives rise to eschatological visions of modern democracy. His second book, Weird John Brown, works through memories of the raid on Harpers Ferry to show the limits of social ethics for thinking about violence. Smith has edited collections of essays on sexuality and ordination, contemporary issues in preaching, and economic inequality. He is currently editing a series of books on the meanings and purposes of theological education in a time of great change.

    At Emory, Smith also teaches in the Graduate Division of Religion and is an affiliated faculty member with the Center for the Study of Law and Religion. Beyond Emory, Smith serves as a senior fellow with the University of Virginia’s project on Religion and Its Publics, the steering committee of the Political Theology Network, and a member of the editorial boards for Political Theology and Practical Matters. He recently completed two terms on the board of the Louisville Institute.

    Before coming to Emory, Smith taught at Vanderbilt Divinity School, where he served as founding director of the Program in Theology and Practice. Ordained to ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Smith served two congregations in upstate New York before beginning doctoral work. 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

    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

    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

    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

    "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