Down, Up, and Over: Slave Religion and Black Theology

Down, Up, and Over: Slave Religion and Black Theology

Down, Up, and Over: Slave Religion and Black Theology

Down, Up, and Over: Slave Religion and Black Theology

Synopsis

"The lives of enslaved African Americans, Dwight Hopkins contends, are a foundational source of liberating faith and practice for African Americans today. Down, Up, and Over draws on their religious experience, and the example of their faith and witness, to develop a constructive theology of liberation." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Black theology is critical reflection upon the practice with and faith in a Spirit of liberation found in the black church (that is, following Jesus Christ) and the entire black community (that is, following the broader Spirit for liberation). One of the foundations of this liberation practice and faith are the lives of enslaved African Americans during the period from 1619 to 1865.

Using the context of Protestantism and North American culture during that period, this book constructs a black theology of liberation drawing on the religious experiences of enslaved African Americans. I argue that the development of constructive theology accompanies the constitution of the human person in conformity with God’s wishes and designs for liberation. in particular black faith and witness— as paramount paradigms and perceptive prisms of human existence— are circumscribed by and created through particular expressions on diverse levels. Such polyvalent situations as well as African American belief structures and hope practices blossom from the rich, creative soil of enslaved black folk’s religious encounters with God.

In a word, black theology results from reflection on the Spirit’s will of liberation revealed in various expressions of black folk’s faith and practice within the context of Protestantism, American culture, and slave religion. At the same time, black theology is concerned with the Spirit’s will of liberation in the co-constitution of the new liberated black self. a faith and practice of liberation create a new self. and divine liberation brings about this faith, practice, and self. Black theology reflects on this dynamic process. and necessarily so, because the faith and practice of the slavery epoch inform this process, one has to engage the particular knowledge that saturates the practical discourse of slavery, Protestantism, and American culture. How is this knowledge formed and how does it act in relation to institutions?

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