Summoned from the Margin: Homecoming of an African

Lamin Sanneh. Wm. B. Eerdmans, $24 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-8028-6742-1
When an author compares academia with a polygamous household and has extensive experience in both worlds, the reader raises a brow. “Departments are like co-wives in the university’s paternal embrace, with members of the faculty their consummated offspring, complete with sibling jealousy.” That religion scholar Sanneh, who teaches at Yale, begins this multireligious and multicultural memoir with stories of his childhood in Gambia in a Muslim polygamous home and returns to this in playfully describing life in the academy makes for thoughtful lightness that mashes up Coming to America and de Tocqueville. Through his eyes we see the American Christian caste system he experiences in the 1960s, when he attempts to enter Christian churches and university circles. However, his story is not about race but about interfaith dialogue, appreciation, and faith. Sanneh’s inner journey reverses Anselm’s “faith seeking understanding” to become “understanding seeking faith.” His twist is that the homecoming is not a return to Africa but a fresh way of following Christ through a radical Catholicism that honors his own roots in Islam and other religions not with “airy politeness” but with respectful debate about truth claims. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/10/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 302 pages - 978-1-4674-3676-2
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