ChickenBones: A Journal

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 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.

 

 

Moral Evil and Redemption Suffering

A History of Theodicy in African-American Religious Thought

Edited By Anthony B. Pinn

 

Review 

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.

 

Contents

Acknowledgments     ix

Introduction    1

Part 1. Historical and Religious Context: 1787-1900     21

1. Jupiter Hammon: An Address to the Negroes in the State of New York     27

2. Absalom Jones: Thanksgiving Sermon, Preached January 1, 1808, in St. Thomas's, or the African Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, on Account of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade, on That Day, by the Congress of the United States     37

3. Nathaniel Paul: An Address, Delivered on the Celebration of the Abolition of Slavery, in the State of New York, July 5, 1827     45

4. David Walker: Our Wretchedness in Consequence of Ignorance     53

5. Maria W. Stewart: An Address delivered at the African Masonic Hall     67

6. James William Charles Pennington: From A Text Book of the Origin and History & c, & c, of the Colored People     75

7. Edward Wilmot Blyden: The Call of Providence to the Descendants of Africa in America     80

8. Samuel Ringgold Ward: From Autobiography of a Fugitive Negro     97

9. Henry McNeal Turner: On the Anniversary of the Emancipation, 1866     102

10. Alexander Crummell: The Destined Superiority of the Negro, a Thanksgiving Discourse, 1877     111

11. James Walker Hood: The Claims of the Gospel Message     123

12. James Theodore Holly: The Divine Plan of Human Redemption in Its Ethnological Development     131

13. Anna Julia Cooper: The Status of Woman in America     141

14. Fannie Barrier Williams: The Intellectual Progress of the Colored Women of the United States since the Emancipation Proclamation     151

15 Booker Taliaferro Washington: From The Future of the American Negro     164

Part 2: Historical and Religious Context: 1901 to the Present     169

16. Garfield Thomas Haywood: From The Finest of the Wheat     177

17. Levi Jenkins Coppin: Fifty Years of Religious Progress: An Emancipation Sermon, Delivered on the Occasion of the Emancipation Semi-Centennial, Philadelphia, September 14th, 1913     183

18. Alexander Walters: The Chicago Christian Endeavor Convention, 1915     197

19. Reverdy Cassius Ransom: The Future of the Negro in the United States     207

20. An Alternative Weapon     215

21. Martin Luther King Jr.: Suffering and Faith     223    

22. Howard Thurman: Suffering     227

23. Elijah Muhammad: "Allah Is Judging Today," from Message to the Black Man in America, and "Certainty of the Punishment," from Our Saviour Has Arrived     246

24. Joseph R. Washington Jr. Black Hope     252

25. Albert B. Cleage Jr. Coming in out of the Wilderness     273

26. James Hal Cone: Suffering in the Black Religious Tradition     285

27. John R. Bryant: Our Father, The King     298

28. J. Deotis Roberts: Faith in God Confronts Collective Evils     302

29. M. Shawn Copeland: "Wading through Many Sorrows": Toward a Theology of Suffering in Womanist Perspective     315

30. Louis Farrakhan: From Let Us Make Man: Select Men Only and Women Only Speeches     339

Bibliography     359

Index     363

Source: Moral Evil and Redemption Suffering.

 

Anthony Pinn is associate professor in the Macalester religious studies department, teaching courses on African American religion, history of Black religious thought and Black theology. Author of several acclaimed books, including Why Lord?: Suffering and Evil in Black Theology and Varieties of African American Religious Experience, he is currently researching religion in the African Diaspora and social protest thought in the AME church.

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