Church History

By Lloyd, Vincent | Church History, December 2013 | Go to article overview

Church History


Lloyd, Vincent, Church History


(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

Book Reviews and Notes

Scholarship on African American religion may be seen as divided between purely historical work and work with normative interests. Christopher Hobson's book bridges this divide, addressing a favorite topic of normative scholars, prophecy, using a historical method. Most famously, but elusively, Cornel West extols the African American prophetic tradition, and locates himself within that tradition. While the label of prophecy has recently been used by some historians of African American religion, such as David Chappell and Edward Blum, and it has been theorized politically by such writers as Eddie Glaude and George Shulman, Hobson's is the first book to offer a careful, thorough examination of how prophecy was used by African American religious figures in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Hobson also treats seriously the religious, not just political, dimension of prophecy, focusing his study on Protestant church figures and attentive to theological context.

Sacvan Bercovitch's classical formulation of the jeremiad as a typically American political theological form takes prophecy to consist of a negative motion, calling out the nation's sins, coupled with a positive motion, pointing toward a better future. Hobson's typology adds texture. Did God have a covenant with African Americans, or with the nation as a whole? Had that covenant been broken? Does the prophet announce imminent destruction or does she announce imminent redemption? Hobson begins by helpfully distinguishing four types of prophecy, drawing on Biblical scholarship but attentive to his African American sources. The Exodus-Deuteronomy strand identifies African Americans with God's chosen people, in a covenant with God and bound by God's law, who are wandering in the wilderness but who have been promised freedom. The Isaiah-Ezekiel strand emphasizes turning away from sin toward righteousness. African Americans can help whites, or the United States as a whole, turn away from the sin of racism and towards equality. Thirdly, Hobson identifies a Jeremiah strand of prophecy, one that emphasizes the depth of a community's sins, a depth so great that destruction is necessary before redemption. Finally, there is the Daniel-Revelation strand, emphasizing the imminent end of human rule on earth and the imminent advent of God's rule on earth.

In the four main chapters of the book, Hobson examines how the four strands of prophecy are articulated, and intermingle, in African American Protestantism. The chapters are organized thematically rather than chronologically or typologically, addressing theodicy, the nation, millennialism, and the prophet's vocation. Each chapter draws on published sermons, speeches, articles, and other writings of a variety of church-related figures, with particular emphasis on four: the Presbyterians Henry Highland Garnet and Francis J. Grimké, the Episcopalian Alexander Crummell, and the AME editor and bishop Reverdy C. Ransom. Along the way, more well-known prophetic voices make appearances. Hobson explains the difference between Martin Delany's emigrationism and Frederick Douglass's constitutional faith as a difference in strands of prophecy, with Douglass committed to the possibility of turning the nation towards righteousness after an extended struggle. David Walker is classified as Jeremian, for he argues "that the nation is so immured in depravity as to be probably unreformable and that a day of destruction is close at hand" (85). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Church History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.