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Black Theology and Black Power Paperback – October, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books (October 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570751579
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570751578
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I felt as if I were looking behind a curtain as I read this book.
G. F. Westendorf
He suggests further that if Christ is present among the oppressed, "he must be working through the activity of Black Power. This alone is my thesis."
Steven H Propp
He uses the Bible to constuct an argument at cetain points in the book but this hardly his main source for his thought.
Philip S Roeda

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
James Hal Cone (born 1938) is the founder of Black Liberation Theology, a Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, and author of books such as A Black Theology of Liberation, God of the Oppressed, Black Theology: A Documentary History, etc.

He wrote in the Introduction to this 1969 book, "Black Power is the most important development in American life in this century," and "there is a need to begin to analyze it from a theological perspective." He adds, "It is my thesis ... that Black Power ... is not the antithesis of Christianity... It is, rather, Christ's central message to twentieth-century America."

He defines Black Power as "complete emancipation of black people from white oppression by whatever means black people deem necessary." (Pg. 6) It is not racism or hatred; it is "an affirmation of the humanity of blacks in spite of white racism." (Pg. 16)

He argues that Black Power and Christianity have this in common: the liberation of man. (Pg. 39) He suggests further that if Christ is present among the oppressed, "he must be working through the activity of Black Power. This alone is my thesis." (Pg. 48) As a slogan, he offers, "Christ means Black Power!" (pg. 112), and "To be Christian is to be one of those whom God has chosen. God has chosen black people!" (Pg. 151)

Although Cone's rhetoric may seem too "fiery" today, we must remember that he wrote these words in 1969, not 2012 or later; America was significantly different back then. But the "positive" affirmations of his message still have their power, even today.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By bill on July 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Black Theology & Black Power is the greatest book ever written on black religion in the United States. Professor James Cone of Union Theological Seminary in New York City wrote this classic text in 1969, at the height of African Americans struggling to be recognized as human beings in the United States.

Dr. Cone argues that if African Americans intend to discover their true self-worth, they must be willing to embrace a new cultural and religious aesthetic. The old hermeneutics have not allowed African Americans to come into their fullness as a people or as unique individuals, who are called to discover their divinity.

Black Theology & Black Power is a must read for any African American clergy or black Christian in general, who wants to experience the Divine anew.

I highly recommend this book because it has the potential to change ones thinking about the Divine. It is books like Black Theology & Black Power that will ultimate change to world.

Douglas E. Thomas, Ph.D.The Obama Factor: How Barack Obama Elevated Human Consciousness
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21 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A. Tripp on January 19, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Cone put forth Black Theology and Black Power as an explanation of the change required for black men to survive in this society. Cone defines black power as, "complete emancipation of black people by whatever means black people deem necessary." This emancipation call means, "black people no longer see themselves as without human dignity but as men." Cone explains that black people see themselves without human dignity because white society has objectified them. As an object they are not relational beings, but objects of exploit for the privilege and the empowerment of whites. For Cone this went back to the beginning of the African experience in America. The suffering of the black experience was real, and "black people cannot live according to what ought to be, but according to what is."

This book is without the luxury of time to come to grips with black meaning in a society which incessantly indoctrinated him with a message that he was less then human, less then whole. Cone did not have the luxury of education in the seminary in theologies other then those made by white men talking to other white men as the church made even Augustine and Jesus white in his time. He did not write in a vacuum and neither can his book be read in a vacuum.

It is an essential book for understanding Black Liberation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen J. Smith on July 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dr. Cone truly opened my eyes to what it means to be Black in this world and to be a Christian in this world. This is a must-read.
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By Tee on December 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have not read this yet, but I hear it is a very good read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Natalie R. Perkins on March 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book! Provides insight on a time period which desperately needed a wake up call. Taking a class from Dr. Cone now who is sharing what led up to his writing of his books.
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15 of 28 people found the following review helpful By G. F. Westendorf on June 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
I bought this book in response to a challange by The Rev. Jermiah A. Wright (Pastor, now retired, Trinity United. Church of Christ the church of Barack Obama) to Sean Hannity (radio and TV talk show host) in May of 2008. Wright saying, "If you haven't read the book, (Black Power & Black Theology) we can't have this conversation." so I bought the book and read it slowly and carefully, highlighting it and making notes in the margins like back in the college days. The author James H. Cone wrote the book published in 1969 at the height of the radical civil rights movement. Cone added a second forward twenty years after the initial publication. He does this to modify a position. I lived through that time as a college student 1968-72 so I had a strong interest in the subject. In the context of the 2008 Presidential election I'd call it a "must read" if you're inclined towards politics and social issues of our recent past that are still relevent today. James H. Cone is not a gifted writer but certainly a impassioned one. "Black Power & Black Theology" is the handbook if you seek to understand the Black Church and Black Liberation Theology. Cone lays it out and leaves no question unanswered about where the Black Liberation Movement stands. Reverend Wright seconds Cone's stance with his endorsement of the book by calling out Sean Hannity to read it. I felt as if I were looking behind a curtain as I read this book. I bought a used copy knowing I would mark it up a lot as a textbook. It's slim, cheap and recommended.
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