The Mount of Vision: African American Prophetic Tradition, 1800-1950

Overview

Drawing on speeches, essays, sermons, reminiscences, and works of theological speculation from 1800 to 1950, Christopher Z. Hobson offers an in-depth study of prophetic traditions in African American religion. He shows how African American prophets shared a belief in a "God of the oppressed:" a God who tested the nation's ability to move toward justice and who showed favor toward struggles for equality.

Hobson also provides insight into the conflict between the African American ...

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Overview

Drawing on speeches, essays, sermons, reminiscences, and works of theological speculation from 1800 to 1950, Christopher Z. Hobson offers an in-depth study of prophetic traditions in African American religion. He shows how African American prophets shared a belief in a "God of the oppressed:" a God who tested the nation's ability to move toward justice and who showed favor toward struggles for equality.

Hobson also provides insight into the conflict between the African American prophets who believed that the nation could one day be redeemed through struggle, and those who felt that its hypocrisy and malevolence lay too deep for redemption. Contrary to the prevalent view that black nationalism is the strongest African American justice tradition, Hobson argues that the reformative tradition in prophecy has been most important and constant in the struggle for equality, and has sparked a politics of prophetic integrationism spanning most of two centuries. Hobson shows too the special role of millennial teaching in sustaining hope for oppressed people and cross-fertilizing other prophecy traditions.

The Mount of Vision concludes with an examination of the meaning of African American prohecy today, in the time of the first African American presidency, the semicentenary of the civil rights movement, and the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War: paradoxical moments in which our "post-racial" society is still pervaded by injustice, and prophecy is not fulfilled but endures as a challenge.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With Mount of Vision, Christopher Hobson has provided readers with a well-organized and rigorously argued discussion of the complicated relationship between religion and politics in African American history during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries."
—The Journal of Religion

"Discerning and valuable...Hobson has done full justice to the varieties of American prophecy in this thoughtful and well researched book." —Socialism and Democracy

"Hobson's is the first book to offer a careful, thorough examination of how prophecy was used by African American religious figures in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." —Church History

"The strength of Hobson's interaction with African American prophetic voices is the complexity that he brings to his analysis." —Theology

"Recommended." —CHOICE

"Christopher Z. Hobson's intricate, scholarly The Mount of Vision has taught me more about African-American prophecy than anything else I've ever read. Those who hope to replenish the tradition and apply it to contemporary life will find here a treasury of material and blessedly clear thinking."—Todd Gitlin, Professor of Journalism and Sociology, Columbia University

"The Mount of Vision is a meticulously-researched and compellingly-argued book. Hobson nuances our understanding of prophecy and challenges traditional interpretations of African American prophetic speech. His four modes of prophecy constitute a stunningly original contribution to the field. And his prophetic fire shines through every page."—Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies, Princeton University

"The prophetic tradition in African American expression is one of the most vital and powerful forces in American history and literature. We now have The Mount of Vision to help us think and feel more deeply about how black men and women invoked biblical conceptions of God's justice not only to carve a space for themselves in the United States, but also to call the nation to task for its various wrongs. Anyone interested in race and religion should read Christopher Z. Hobson's book."—Edward J. Blum, co-author of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199895861
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/3/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Z. Hobson is the author of The Chained Boy, a study of William Blake's political vision, Blake and Homosexuality, and essays on Blake, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and John Jasper. He is Associate Professor of English at State University of New York, College at Old Westbury.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1. Past and Present: African American Prophecy and Its Biblical Foundations
2. The Hot Indignation of God: Providence, Saving History, and Theodicy
3. The Crisis of the Nation: Contending Voices in Prophecy
4. The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain: Millennium and Apocalypse
5. Fearing God and Not Man: Prophetic Vocation
6. Conclusion: Prophecy Now
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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