Tribal Talk: Black Theology, Hermeneutics, and African/American Ways of "Telling the Story" / Edition 1

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The experiences of enslaved African Americans have been recorded in writings identified as slave narratives, also called liberation narratives. Although much has been written about slave culture and slave religion from sociological and historical perspectives, Tribal Talk is the first book to study slave narratives as a source for a contemporary, constructive black theology, while also paying close attention to their literary and rhetorical value. Will Coleman explores from a theological, historical, and literary perspective the oral traditions of African American culture, and how those oral traditions have made an impact on the composition of slave narratives. Specifically, Coleman examines the process by which religious beliefs were passed down from generation to generation. He explores the various interpretive strategies that aid in understanding both the theological and the literary nature of African American slave narratives. Ultimately, he links black theology with the language and the religious experiences of enslaved black people.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Since the 1960s a whole new field and orientation of historical analysis on the slave narratives have opened up, but this field has largely ignored what seems to have been extremely important in the narratives themselves: the religious experience. Coleman corrects this oversight through his keen sensitivity to the transformative blending of Euro-American Christian symbols and traditional African symbols and practices.”
—Rebecca S. Chopp, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

“This text, in a subtle but powerful way, breaks new ground and makes a unique contribution to black theology.”
—Luther D. Ivory, Journal of Religion

“This text, in a subtle but powerful way, breaks new ground and makes a unique contribution to black theology.”

—Luther D. Ivory, Journal of Religion

From the Publisher

“This text, in a subtle but powerful way, breaks new ground and makes a unique contribution to black theology.”

—Luther D. Ivory, Journal of Religion

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271019451
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 11/18/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,506,009
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Will Coleman is Theologian-in-Residence at First African Presbyterian Church and Co-director of the Black Kabbalah Institute, both in Lithonia, Georgia.

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Table of Contents

1 Pouring Ancestral Libations: The Coming of the Vodun 3
2 "Root-Work," or (Re)Configuring the Transatlantic "Middle Passage": West African Roots of Religious Life in the African Americas 31
3 (Re)Establishing Spirituality Within an Oppressive Cult(ure): Mediators, Spirit(s), and "Holy Ghost Power" 53
4 Emancipation and (Re)Construction into a New Communal Self-Identity: The Work of the Spirit Among Communities of the Faithful 107
5 Speaking Out: The Origin and Development of the Slave Narrative Collection 137
6 Divination and Conjuration: Employing Interpretative Strategies 153
7 Pouring More Libations: Black Theology as a Resource for Liberation Hermeneutics 171
Bibliography 195
Index 205
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