Linda E. Thomas Professor of Theology and Anthropology


Areas of Expertise

    Topics that Dr. Thomas is available to address at adult forums and other congregational events

    Theology and Culture
    Diversity Issues in the Church and Society
    Church and Society
    Congregational Life
    Sexuality and Theology


    B.A. Western Maryland College
    M.Div. Union Seminary, N.Y.
    Ph.D. American University, Washington D.C.


Dr. Linda E. Thomas has engaged students, scholars and communities as a scholar for almost twenty years. She studies, researches, writes, speaks and teaches about the intersection and mutual influence of culture and religion. Her work is rooted intransitively in a Womanist perspective.

Dr. Thomas has taught in the fields of anthropology, cultural studies, ethics and theology. She is particularly focused on the experience of African-American women, and is passionate about uncovering and exploring historical and contemporary experiences and ideologies that govern actions, policies and norms surrounding sex, race and class. She always incorporates multiple teaching and learning methods in the classroom; in addition to traditional sources, she regularly uses literature, music and film to provide variety and relevance for her students.

Her professional academic experience began as Dean of Students at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C., where she also taught courses in spiritual formation. She has served on the faculty at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. At Garrett, she also served as the Director of the Center of the Church and the Black Experience. Currently, Dr. Thomas serves as full professor at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, Illinois. She has served as a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, and Drew University.

Dr. Thomas is well-published. Her first book, Under the Canopy: Ritual Process and Spiritual Resilience in South Africa (1999), explores the everyday lives of black South Africans trapped by systems of structural poverty and the ways religion and culture fueled their resilience during the apartheid era. Her second book, Living Stones in the Household of God (2004), is a collection of essays about Black Theology in the new millennium. Dr. Thomas edited the book and contributed two essays. She has published dozens of articles in academic journals and contributed essays to several scholarly books.

With a Ph.D. in anthropology from The American University in Washington D.C. and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Dr. Thomas’s work has taken her to South Africa, Peru, Cuba and Russia. She has been recognized as an Association of Theological Schools Faculty Fellow as well as a Pew Charitable Trust Scholar.

Published Works


    and Dwight Hopkins, editors Walk Together Children: Black and Womanist Theologies, church and Theological Education (Eugene, OR, Cascade Books, 2010)

    ”The Aesthetic Dimensions of Religion in South Africa” Bodies Beautiful: Aesthetic Dimensions of Religious Thought and Life in Africa and the African Diaspora, Anthony Pinn, ed. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)

    Under the Canopy: Ritual Process and Spiritual Resilience in South Africa. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1999.

    Articles and Chapters in Books

    “What the Mind Forgets the Body Remembers: Women, Poverty and HIV” was published in Women and Christianity, Cheryl Kirk-Duggan and Karen Jo Torjesen eds. (Greenwood: Praeger Press, 2010)

    “Pentecost Sunday” Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary Year C, Vol. 3: Pentecost and the Season after Pentecost (Propers 3 - 16) (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010)

    “Trinity Sunday” Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary Year C, Vol. 3: Pentecost and the Season after Pentecost (Propers 3 - 16) (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010)

    “What the Mind Forgets the Body Remembers: HIV/AIDS in South Africa – A Theological and Anthropological Issue,” Currents in Theology and Mission Vol. 35 No. 4 (August 2008): 276-286

    "Macro-economy, Apartheid, and Rituals of Healing in an African Indigenous Church." In
    Religions/Globalization: Theories and Cases, ed. Dwight N. Hopkins, et al. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001.

    "Emancipatory Christianity." In Black Faith and Public Talk: Critical Essays on James H. Cone\'s Black Theology and Black Power, ed. Dwight N. Hopkins. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press, 1999.

    "Voices from the Margin in the United States," co-authored with Dwight N. Hopkins. In The Twentieth Century: A Theological Overview, ed. Gregory Baum. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press, 1999.

    "Womanist Theology, Epistemology, and a New Anthropological paradigm." Cross Currents: The Journal of the Association for Religion and Intellectual Life, 48/4 (Winter 98/99).

    "Black Theology Revisited," co-authored with Dwight Hopkins. Journal of Theology for Southern Africa (1998).

    "Beyond Feminism: An Intercultural Challenge for Transforming the Academy," co-authored with Paula D. Nesbitt. In Common Ground: Feminist Collaboration in the Academy, ed. Elizabeth G. Peck and JoAnna Stephens Mink. New York: SUNY Press, 1998.

    "The Gospel Train's A-Coming: Beatitude, Suffering and Ethnicity: A Response to Josiah Young III." In The Gospel Train's A-Coming, ed. S.T. Kimbrough, Jr. Mission Evangelism Series, No. 2. New York: General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1998.

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