Professor of Theological Studies and
Director of Peace Studies
Department of Theological Studies
Loyola Marymount University
1 LMU Drive, Suite 3700
Los Angeles, CA 90045-2659, USA
Office: University Hall 3771
Phone: (310) 338-2875
Fax: (310) 338-1947
D.Phil. - Doctor of Philosophy, Sept., 1986.
Oxford University, England: Faculty of Theology.
(Sociological Analysis of the Exile in the Old Testament)
M.Div. - Master of Divinity, May, 1981.
Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries (Elkhart, Indiana)
(Biblical Studies and Peace Studies)
B.A. - Bachelor of Arts, May, 1977
George Fox University (Newberg, Oregon).
(Philosophy and Sociology)
Dr. Christopher appears regularly on television as a consultant and scholarly commentator on documentaries broadcast by A&E, Discovery, the History Channel, and most recently, The National Geographic Network and PBS (Public Broadcasting).
Dr. Christopher was awarded a Lilly grant, and with Prof. Mustansir Mir, a noted Quran scholar, Dr. Christopher coordinated the seminar and lectured with Dr. Mir on the topic: “Peace and Justice in the Bible and the Quran” in the summer of 2003.
Also in the summer of 2003, Dr. Christopher was invited to deliver a paper for a World Council of Churches consultation in Bangor, Wales (UK), and in the summer of 2004, he delivered a paper at the Parliament of World Religions held in Barcelona, Spain.
Dr. Christopher's cultural interests influence his teaching. In 1995, he founded, raised funds, and hired a director for LMU's first "Gospel Choir". He taught a 'traveling' class where students visit 10 churches from different cultural backgrounds, exploring "Faith and Ethnicity in Los Angeles". Dr. Christopher also developed a new course on "Reconciliation Across Cultures" for the American Cultures program at LMU in 1995.
Dr. Christopher has recently been appointed by Cardinal Roger Mahoney as a Permanent Consultant to the “Theological Commission” of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (the only non-Catholic on the Commission), and lectures frequently for various offices of the Archdiocese of LA.
Dr. Christopher lectures widely in the United States and abroad. In the fall of 1995, he was "Scholar in Residence" in the Religion Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and in January, 1997, he was a featured Bible teacher for the Australian National Christian Youth Congress held in Tasmania. He returned to Australia in the summer of 1998 for a series of lectures, conferences, and workshops with the Uniting Church in Australia in 6 cities. In the fall of 2002, Dr. Christopher was Lecturer-in-Residence at the University of Auckland, New Zealand (St. John’s Seminary), as part of his sabbatical leave in New Zealand, and was Visiting Professor of Biblical Studies at Bluffton College of Ohio in 2003-2004.
Dr. Christopher lectures frequently in congresses and conferences of the Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, and United Methodist Churches in Southern California, as well as various meetings of the Society of Friends (Quakers) across the USA. Dr. Smith-Christopher was raised in a Quaker home and identifies himself as a Christian in the Quaker tradition, but with widespread ecumenical interests! He has spoken at the Religious Education Congresses of the Catholic Church in Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and every year for the past 12 years, in Los Angeles.
Born in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Christopher attended George Fox College (B.A.); Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (Elkhart, Indiana; M.Div.) and received his doctorate in Old Testament Studies at Oxford University in England, in 1987. Dr. Smith-Christopher has taught at Loyola Marymount University for 19 years.
Named in 2006 as “Undergraduate Theology Teacher of the Year” by Augsburg/Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), and in 2007, “Professor of the Year” by the Associated Students of Loyola Marymount University, Dr. Christopher has published dozens of scholarly articles and reviews, and his 10 books and major works include his new book, Jonah, Jesus, and Other Good Coyotes (Abingdon Press: Nashville, 2007) which is on the subject of peacemaking in the Bible, and also the recently published: Introduction to the Old Testament: Our Invitation to Faith and Justice. This is a High School textbook for Catholic Schools published in the fall of 2004 by Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN. His most recent academic theological work is A Biblical Theology of Exile (Fortress Press, 2002), the final volume of the “Overtures to Biblical Theology” series, edited with a Forward by Walter Brueggemann. His scholarly work also includes commentaries on the Biblical books of Daniel (for The New Interpreter's Bible: Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1996) and Ezra and Nehemiah (for The Oxford Bible Commentary, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2001, and the new Theological Commentary on the Old Testament). Most recently, he has contributed introductory essays to Micah and Nahum in the new “People’s Bible”. His work, The Religion of the Landless (1989) was based on his work at Oxford. In 1994, Sheffield University published his translation (from German) of The Citizen-Temple Community by the former Soviet (now Israeli) Biblical scholar, Prof. Joel Weinberg. Dr. Christopher contributed a dozen entries for the Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids: 2000). At present, he is working on a new commentary on the prophet Micah.
Dr. Christopher served for two years in volunteer peace work/research with the Quakers in Israel/Palestine from 1986 to 1988 (consulting with Israeli and Palestinian peace groups), and maintains an active interest in the modern Middle East. He also serves as Director of Peace Studies at LMU, and maintains a practical and academic interest in Peace Studies. In this capacity, he edited a series of scholarly essays, including his own essay on the subject of Nonviolence in Christianity, dealing with “Nonviolence in World Religions”. The book, Subverting Hatred (Orbis Press, 2000), is now published in a 10th Anniversary Edition (Fall, 2007), and this book has also been translated into Italian and Malaysian.
Dr. Christopher has particular interests in how cultural and ethnic backgrounds influence the reading and interpretation of Biblical texts. He edited a volume of scholarly essays on this subject, Text and Experience: Toward a Cultural Exegesis of the Bible (Sheffield, 1995), and has conducted research based on field interviews in South Dakota with members of the Rosebud Lakota nation; the Cree in northern Manitoba; and Aboriginal Australians. Dr. Christopher has also contributed lengthy entries on Native-Americans in North and South America for both the The Native American Encyclopedia, and has contributed articles to the The Latino Encyclopedia, and has also published articles on the contemporary Middle East.
In the summer of 2006, Dr. Christopher became the Director of LMU’s annual “Study Abroad” program based in Auckland, New Zealand.
Click for a complete list of Dr. Smith-Christopher's publications.