That Blessed Book: The Interfaith Roots of an African American Biblical Imagination (SC-652)
Africans and their descendants in North America developed a distinctive tradition of Bible reading that evinces a prophetic-apocalyptic imagination with an ethic of perseverance. That evidence is found in biblical texts embedded in a wide variety of prayers, songs, stories, and sermons. This course examines selected African American orature (e.g., spirituals and folklore) and literature to explore the formation of the Black Church’s biblical “canon within a canon” as the result of an extensive “interfaith” and multi-cultural conversation and negotiation among diverse African ethnicities in the slave communities of the United States. While “interfaith” refers to the full spectrum of religious world views (Smart) Africans carried to North America, special attention will be paid to the importance of African Muslims as a source of epistemological resistance to enslavers’ Christianity and as agents of “local assimilation” of the Bible in the Christian religion of the enslaved and the formation of the Black Church.
Instructor: Cheryl Townsend Gilkes
If you are not enrolled in a degree program but wish to register for this course, use the Online Registration for Special Students and Auditors.