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Hartford Seminary

Duncan Black Macdonald Conference & Exhibition Held

Duncan Black Macdonald, a pioneering member of the Hartford Seminary faculty, was honored June 2nd in a day-long event at the Seminary to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth. Macdonald was a world-class scholar, who taught at Hartford Seminary from 1892 until 1942. A Scots Presbyterian minister, Macdonald held M.A., B.Th. and Hon. Ph.D. degrees from the University of Glasgow. At a time when the Seminary?s mission was to train Christian ministers and missionaries, Macdonald?s unique perspective on the importance of Christian-Muslim relations and his prodigious scholarship helped the institution to embrace this progressive vision for interfaith dialogue and understanding.

The Macdonald Conference & Exhibitionintroduced and celebrated this local, world-class scholar, who is relevant to a broad, contemporary audience and who is an accessible point of entry for better understanding and appreciation of the Muslim culture and religion both here and abroad. The project took the form of a day-long event featuring lecture, conversation, exhibition, historic tour and film screening. The event was sponsored by Connecticut Humanities, the International Institute for Islamic Thought and Hartford Seminary.

The Macdonald Exhibition continues at Hartford Seminary through June 29.

Photos of the Conference and Exhibition are below.

Check back periodically for additional photos posted here and on Facebook.

A tour of Old North Cemetery to visit Duncan Black Macdonald’s restored gravesite for a commemoration with Rev. Dr. Steven Blackburn (Hartford Seminary) was the first element of the Macdonald Conference & Exhibition.

Conference guests, Hartford Seminary faculty, staff, students and conference speakers attended a luncheon at the Macdonald Center at Hartford Seminary.

Professor Yahya Michot, originator of the Macdonald Conference, welcomes guests.

Professor Michot (second from right) introduces guests to the Macdonald Exhibition held at the Hartford Seminary Library.

Macdonald was a prolific writer, diarist and photographer and Hartford Seminary owns essentially all of his existing work, including first editions of his published manuscripts, letters and his personal diaries of trips and teaching experiences. He also collected a wide range of materials on the Arabian Nights. During his 1908 sabbatical trip to the Middle East, Macdonald photographed extensively, not only images of landmarks, but also scenes of everyday life in that Islamic culture.

President Heidi Hadsell opens and moderates the Lecture Series component of the Macdonald Conference.

Prof. Yahya Michot welcomes participants to the Lecture Series component of the Macdonald Conference.

Jane Smith, Professor Emerita of the Seminary and former Director of the Macdonald Center, spoke on Macdonald?s life as a Christian Islamist and his contribution to the evolution of missionary work into interfaith dialogue at the Seminary.

Muhsin al-Musawi, Professor of Arabic Literature at Columbia University, spoke on Macdonald?s extensive studies of One Thousand and One Nights, commonly known as the Arabian Nights.

Kenneth Garden, Assistant Professor of Religion at Tufts University, spoke on Macdonald?s studies of the famous Muslim scholar, Abu Hamid al Ghazali, d. 1111.

Yehezkel Landau, Faculty Associate in Interfaith Relations at Hartford Seminary, spoke on Macdonald?s two volumes on Judaism.

Yahya Michot, Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Seminary, spoke on Macdonald?s 1908 sabbatical in Egypt, with extensive slides of Macdonald?s many photographs of the region, its people and culture.

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