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Onesimus Our Brother: Reading Religion, Race, and Culture in Philemon


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Philemon is the shortest letter in the Pauline collection, yet—because it has to do with a slave separated from his master—it has played an inordinate role in the toxic brew of slavery and racism in the United States. In Onesimus Our Brother, leading African American biblical scholars tease out the often unconscious assumptions about religion, race, and culture that permeate contemporary interpretation of the New Testament and of Paul in particular. The editors argue that Philemon is as important a letter from an African American perspective as Romans or Galatians have proven to be in Eurocentric interpretation. The essays gathered here continue to trouble scholarly waters, interacting with the legacies of Hegel, Freud, Habermas, Ricoeur, and James C. Scott, as well as the historical experience of African American communities.


  • Allen Dwight Callahan
  • Matthew V. Johnson Sr.
  • James A. Noel
  • James W. Perkinson
  • Mitzi J. Smith
  • Margaret B. Wilkerson
  • Demetrius K. Williams

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

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  • Title: Onesimus Our Brother: Reading Religion, Race, and Culture in Philemon
  • Authors: Matthew V. Johnson, James A. Noel, Demetrius K. Williams
  • Series: Paul in Critical Contexts
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Print Publication Date: 2012
  • Logos Release Date: 2014
  • Pages: 184
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible. N.T. Philemon › Black interpretations; Bible. N.T. Philemon › Socio-rhetorical criticism
  • ISBNs: 9780800663414, 9781451410211
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-02-12T04:56:54Z

Matthew V. Johnson is senior pastor of the Good Shepherd Church (Baptist), Atlanta, Georgia.

James A. Noel is the H. Eugene Farlough California Professor of African American Christianity at San Francisco Theological Seminary, coeditor of The Passion of the Lord: African American Reflections, and contributor to True to Our Native Land. He is also convener and founder of the Graduate Theological Union’s Black Church/Africana Studies Certificate Program.

Demetrius K. Williams teaches in the Theology Department at Marquette University and is the author of An End to This Strife: The Politics of Gender in African American Churches.


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    Digital list price: $30.99
    Save $6.00 (19%)