- Paperback: 257 pages
- Publisher: Orbis Books; Rev Sub edition (November 21, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1570751587
- ISBN-13: 978-1570751585
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 33 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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God of the Oppressed Paperback – November 21, 1997
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About the Author
James H. Cone, Bill and Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, is widely regarded as one of the most influential theologians in America. His books include Black Theology & Black Power, A Black Theology of Liberation, The Spirituals & the Blues, God of the Oppressed, Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare and The Cross and the Lynching Tree.
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Here is a very very brief summary of the book:
Cone's first agenda is to address the problem of universality and particularity in Christian theology. He begins by stressing that theology is always contextual and intrinsically related to human experience, and argues that Christian theology must always prophetically address the socio-political conditions and involve liberating marginalized persons. Cone next addresses the question: "Who is Jesus Christ for us today?" His answer involves seeing one's social context and the Bible as dialectically related: Jesus IS Black because he WAS Jewish: Christ enters into our world amongst the poor and despised. The cross displayed God's willingness to suffer with humanity; the resurrection proclaims the liberation on display in Israel's history is now available to all. Cone concludes his work by firmly planting theology within history, arguing that salvation IS liberation, and that ethics must be founded upon it. His work teaches Christians to approach the Bible through the experience of the cross and not the other way around. He concludes that reconciliation precedes liberation, and it is as big of a risk as Jesus' cross: reconciliation is not blacks assuring white liberals that there are no hard feelings; it is God's presence insisting upon the death of the oppressor through tangible reparations.
God of the Oppressed is a forceful treatise that develops a theological system by interweaving the redemptive history of Israel, Jesus' gospel of freedom, and the concrete experience of black oppression. Cone has laid the groundwork for re-interpreting classical theological concepts: the Christian God is understood only as the God of the Oppressed. This book challenges one's assumptions regarding how the salvific message of the gospel actually occurs; it also addresses the historical nature of the Christian message: salvation should never be regarded primarily as abstract since the effects of sin are concrete; if God's intention is to free us from sin, then the truth of God's revelation must be understood as historically imbedded. The message of God of the Oppressed is clear: God has opened a new future for the humiliated and abused. Cone is a rare type of theologian: he preaches the gospel as if it were good news.
1 star for the Kindle version having so many typos and missing words. How am I supposed to accurately quote Cone if I'm missing part of the book? Ugh.
Cone, like millions of African American Christians before him, parallels the African American experience of slavery with the Israelite's enslavement in Egypt. For Caucasian Christians, it is vital to understand that America as the Promised Land has been a white experience and perspective, and has not been true for the black experience.
Cone develops a theology of suffering and of social justice from his interpretation of biblical passages on these topics integrated with the black experience in America. Again, while his interpretations can be offensive to conservative readers, being introduced to them is a good place to begin an intelligent dialogue. Cone's personal philosophy and political policies often seem to impact his biblical interpretations, though this is true with all writers and theologians.
For a historical perspective that provides a conservative black expression of the experience of suffering, readers can consider Beyond the Suffering. Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction