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Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation

ISBN: 9780800625016

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A hallmark of American black religion is its distinctive use of the Bible in creating community, resisting oppression, and fomenting social change. What can critical biblical studies learn from the African American experience with the Bible, and vice versa?

This singular volume marks the emergence of a critical mass of black biblical scholars. Combining sophisticated exegesis with special sensitivity to issues of race, class, and gender, the authors of this scholarly collection examine the nettling questions of biblical authority, blacks and African in biblical narratives, and the liberating aspects of Scripture. Together they are reshaping and redefining the questions, concerns, and scholarship that determine how the Bible is appropriated by church, academy, and the larger society today.

Resource Experts
  • Contains a collaborative work of African American scholars
  • Survyes the history and current state of African American biblical interpretation
  • Examines the role of the Bible in African American religious traditions

Part I: The Relevance of Biblical Scholarship And The Authority Of The Bible

  • Interpreting Biblical Scholarship for the Black Church Tradition - Thomas Hoyt, Jr.
  • The Hermeneutical Dilemma of the African American Biblical Student - Renita J. Weems
  • Reading Her Way through the Struggle: African American Women and the Bible - Renita J. Weems

Part II: African American Sources For Enhancing Biblical Interpretation

  • The Bible and African Americans: An Outline of an Interpretative History - Vincent L. Wimbush
  • “An Ante-bellum Sermon”: A Resource for an African American Hermeneutic - David T. Shannon

Part III: Race And Ancient Black Africa In The Bible

  • Race, Racism, and the Biblical Narratives - Cain Hope Felder
  • The Black Presence in the Old Testament - Charles B. Copher
  • Beyond Identification: The Use of Africans in Old Testament Poetry and Narratives - Randall C. Bailey

Part IV: Reinterpreting Biblical Texts

  • Who Was Hagar? - John W. Waters
  • The Haustafeln (Household Codes) in African American Biblical Interpretation: “Free Slaves” and “Subordinate Women” - Clarice J. Martin
  • An African American Appraisal of the Philemon-Paul-Onesimus Triangle - Lloyd A. Lewis

Top Highlights

“In this respect, the Bible is one of the chief components of the black experience; it enables myth to function coherently in the lives of blacks.” (Page 33)

“self-conscious articulation, consolidation, and institutionalization.” (Page 91)

“Among blacks there is a commonality of suffering, and throughout their history in America this has led to a corporate caring for the whole of the community and not a mere personal concern for salvation. The kerygmatic aspect of a suffering messiah, like Jesus, especially serves as an analogue to black suffering. In their suffering, blacks have identified with the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and hence in Jesus blacks have found a true friend.” (Page 29)

“Let us, in answering this objection, take an example from the resurrection passage in John 20:1–2, a very short account of the first visit to the tomb of Jesus. The event took place early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark. We are told that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and that when she saw that the stone had been moved away, she ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and told them that the Lord had been taken from the tomb and that she and the others did not know where they had placed his body.” (Pages 35–36)

“‘Book Religion’ into Religion of Slave Experience (Beginning of Mass Conversions in the Eighteenth Century)” (Page 85)

  • Title: Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation
  • Author: Cain Hope Felder
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Print Publication Date: 1991
  • Logos Release Date: 2019
  • Pages: 272
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Blacks in the Bible
  • ISBNs: 9780800625016, 0800625013
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-30T03:11:37Z

Dr. Cain Hope Felder is professor of New Testament Language and Literature and editor of The Journal of Religious Thought at the Howard University School of Divinity. He also serves as chair of the Ph.D. program and immediate past chair of the Doctor of Ministry program. He has been on Howard’s faculty since 1981. Prior to coming to Howard, he taught within the Department of Biblical Studies (1978-1981) at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Felder is an ordained Methodist minister within the United Methodist Church. From 1969-1972, Dr. Felder worked as the first national director of the United Methodist Black Caucus, then headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1990, he founded the Biblical Institute of Social Change (BISC), headquartered in Washington, DC. A prolific writer, his publications include “True to Our Native Land†(Augsburg Fortress, May, 2007), the first African American commentary on the New Testament; “Troubling Biblical Waters: Race, Class, and Family†(Orbis Books, 1989) – 16th printing; and “The Original African Heritage Study Bible†(Winston Publishing Company, 1993). A world-renowned scholar, he is a sought-after lecturer, consultant and media interviewee. He has appeared in USA Today, The Washington Post, The New York Times and EBONY, and on BET, PBS and NBC, to name a few. Dr. Felder holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Philosophy degree in biblical languages and literature from Columbia University in New York; a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York; a Diploma of Theology from Oxford University, Mansfield College in England; a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, Greek & Latin from Howard University in Washington, DC; and a diploma from the Boston Latin School. He maintains dual residences in Washington, DC, and his home haven in Mobile, Alabama, that he shares with his bride, Dr. Jewell, affectionately called “Dr. J.†He is the proud father of one daughter, Miss Akidah Felder, a graduate of Spelman College and current dual Master’s student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.


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  1. Daniel Blackshear
  2. Ellis I. Washington
    Excellent collection of scholarship from the African American perspective! I have both the print and the Kindle version. Finally, I can add it to my my Logos library. Thank you, Faithlife Logos!!!


Digital list price: $22.99
Save $4.00 (17%)