Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk

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In this landmark work of emerging African American womanist theology, Delores Williams finds in the biblical figure of Hagar - mother of Ishmael, cast into the desert by Abraham and Sarah, but protected by God - a prototype for the struggle of African-American women. African slave, homeless exile, surrogate mother, Hagar's story provides an image of survival and defiance appropriate to black women today. Exploring all the themes inherent in Hagar's story - poverty and slavery, ethnicity and sexual exploitation, ...
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Overview

In this landmark work of emerging African American womanist theology, Delores Williams finds in the biblical figure of Hagar - mother of Ishmael, cast into the desert by Abraham and Sarah, but protected by God - a prototype for the struggle of African-American women. African slave, homeless exile, surrogate mother, Hagar's story provides an image of survival and defiance appropriate to black women today. Exploring all the themes inherent in Hagar's story - poverty and slavery, ethnicity and sexual exploitation, exile and encounters with God - Sisters in the Wilderness traces parallels in the history of African-American women from slavery to the present. A particular theology - a womanist theology - emerges from this shared experience; specifically, from the interplay of oppressions on account of race, sex, and class. In Part I, Williams shows how reading Hagar's story exemplifies the issues and problems black women face. The "forced motherhood," "single motherhood" and "surrogate motherhood" Hagar experienced have been part of black women's lives. Williams also explores the dismal reality of contemporary "racial narcissistic...consciousness" which finds its parallel in Hagar's travail as foreign servant and outcast. Finally, there is the religious resonance of Hagar's sojourns in the wilderness and her encounters with God. These themes Williams finds echoed in the cultural and literary traditions of African-American women. Part II considers the theological implications of the womanist understanding of Hagar's history. Williams explores the relationship between womanist and black liberation theology, and womanist theology and the black church. Through the combination of social history, political theology, and literary criticism, Williams demonstrates how approaching theology consciously informed by the awareness of the identity of black women results in a rich and vibrant knowledge of the sacred. Sisters in the Wilderness provides a reconstruction of "God-talk"

This landmark work in emerging African American "womanist" thought uses the image of Hagar--mother of Ishmael, cast into the wilderness by Abraham and Sarah but protected by God--as a prototype for African American women. Williams sees in the story of Hagar--an African woman, surrogate mother, homeless, exiled--an image of survival and defiance that is appropriate to African American women today. Index.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780883447727
  • Publisher: Orbis Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/1993
  • Pages: 225
  • Product dimensions: 6.73 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
Pt. I Sisters in the Wilderness
Ch. 1 Hagar's Story: A Route to Black Women's Issues 15
Ch. 2 Tensions in Motherhood: From Slavery to Freedom 34
Ch. 3 Social-Role Surrogacy: Naming Black Women's Oppression 60
Ch. 4 Color Struck: A State of Mind 84
Ch. 5 Sisters in the Wilderness and Community Meanings 108
Pt. II Womanist God-Talk
Ch. 6 Womanist God-Talk and Black Liberation Theology 143
Ch. 7 Womanist-Feminist Dialogue: Differences and Commonalities 178
Ch. 8 Womanist Reflections on "The Black Church," the African-American Denominational Churches and the Universal Hagar's Spiritual Church 204
Afterword 235
Notes 241
Index 281
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