Catholic scholar to speak on Jesus' African impact

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Laurenti Magesa
The Rev. Laurenti Magesa, an African Catholic theologian, will focus on how Jesus embodies the African worldview of ongoing healing, during an evening lecture Jan. 28 on the Lincoln Park Campus. (Hekima University College/Benedict Mayaki)
CHICAGO — The Rev. Laurenti Magesa, whose work has reshaped the study of Catholicism in Africa, will deliver an evening public lecture, “Naming Jesus As ‘Healer’ In Africa,” Jan. 28 at DePaul University.

The lecture will expand on the role Jesus plays for the people of sub-Saharan Africa. It will focus on how Jesus embodies the African worldview of ongoing healing and life’s flourishing through his life, teaching, death and resurrection.

Magesa is a groundbreaking theologian and one of the first African scholars in his field to publish in English. He is the author of more than 100 academic articles and eight books, including “African Religion: The Moral Traditions of Abundant Life,” considered a breakthrough text in the field. Before Magesa, most scholarship on Catholicism in Africa had been written by Europeans. He was one of the first Anglophone African voices to emerge as an expert on Christianity, offering an insider perspective and encouraging fellow theologians to honor and dig deep into their own African culture and traditions.

Born in Tanzania, Magesa earned a diploma in theology from Makerere University in Uganda. He served as a parish priest and went on to found the Ecumenical Symposium of East Africa Theologians, a group of scholars dedicated to the development and implementation of theological education. He has taught moral theology at several universities, including at Hekima University College in Nairobi, Kenya.

He will be a visiting scholar through May with the Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology at DePaul, which is hosting the lecture. In 2014, DePaul recognized Magesa’s scholarship by bestowing an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree, which was presented at commencement ceremonies in Kenya at Tangaza University College.

The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus in the Student Center, Room 314B, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave. A reception precedes the lecture at 6 p.m. 

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