Tomorrow (August 5th) is the birthday of theologian James Cone. In honor of the occasion, we offer this introductory reading guide to his work.
We’ve ordered this list in the order that we think the books should be read, and we offer a brief explanation of why each book was included. We’ve included excerpts of most the books via Google Books.
The Cross and the Lynching Tree is thus a pointed case study that reminds us of the overwhelming whiteness of Western Christian theology – as has been explored in depth in recent works like J. Kameron Carter’s Race and Willie Jennings’s The Christian Imagination. Cone is clear that the cross and the lynching tree are not equivalents – theologically or historically speaking; these two shared images, he emphasizes are essential to racial reconciliation in America, particularly racial reconciliation within the church. “Neither Blacks nor whites can be understood fully,” he says, “without reference to the other because of their common religious heritage as well as their joint relationship to the lynching experience” (165).
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