"This excellent, balanced, comprehensive, representative, and scholarly useful text lives up to the expectations of those acquainted with Anthony Pinn's work and will impress others who might be coming to the subject matter of African-American religious thought and issues of theodicy in the black tradition for the first time."--Sandy Dwayne Martin, University of Georgia
This book, a collection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century documents by African-Americans, traces the progression of black Christian theology's dominant response to the dilemma of evil in a God-protected world: the notion of suffering as redemptive.
As the first extensive historical treatment of the problem of evil in African- American religious thinking, this anthology consists in great part of primary documents authored by a range of black theologians, speaking for themselves on theodicy. Supplemented by the editor's analyses of redemptive-suffering arguments and their consequences for black Christian thought and practice, the selections trace the historical development of a primary strand of African-American theology. The authors challenge traditional understandings of radical black religious thought and point out contradictions inherent in the words of black religious leaders. Documents show that black religions historically regarded as progressive have at their theological core an understanding of human suffering as redemptive.
The most significant writings by African-American thinkers in this area have been compiled along cross-denominational and doctrinal lines. They include documents from Methodists and Baptists, Muslims and Catholics—not only from church leaders but also from lay people and political leaders. The volume brings clarity to the historical and epistemological underpinnings of one of the most pressing issues faced by African-American Christians.
Anthony B. Pinn is associate professor of religion and coordinator of African-American studies at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota.
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