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Varieties of African American Religious Experience

Varieties of African American Religious Experience: Toward a Comparative Black Theology—20th Anniversary Edition

Author: 
Anthony B. Pinn (Author)
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Description

Twenty years ago, Anthony Pinn’s engrossing survey highlighted the rich diversity of black religious life in America, revealing expressions of an ever-changing black religious quest. Based on extensive research, travel, and interviews, Pinn’s work provides a fascinating look especially at Voodoo, Santeria, the Nation of Islam, and black humanism in the United States and uses the diversity of religious belief to begin formulation of a comparative black theology—the first of its kind.

This twentieth-anniversary edition is an expanded version, including a new preface and a new concluding chapter. An important contribution to classroom studies!

ISBN: 
9781506403359
Price: 
$29.00
ISBN: 
9781506403366
Price: 
$29.00
Release date: 
October 15, 2017
Pages: 
320
Width: 
6
Height: 
9

Contents

Introduction: Theology and the Canon of Black Religion Rethought

New Preface

Case Studies: Traditions and Their Existential Link

1. Serving the Loa: Vodou, Voodoo, and the Voodoo Spiritual Temple

2. Ashe! Santería, Oshira-Voodoo, and Oyotunji African Village

3. The Great Mahdi Has Come! Islam, Nation of Islam, and the Minneapolis Study Group

4. What if God Were One of Us? Humanism and African Americans for Humanism

Toward a Comparative Theological Framework

5. How Do We Talk about Religion? Religious Experience, Cultural Memory, and Theological Method

6. Theological Categories Twenty-Years Later

Bibliography

Index

Endorsements

More than an introduction to African American religions, Varieties offers a portal to both the history and the future of African American religious thought.

From its first publication, Varieties was an ideal course textbook. It gives descriptive and analytical views of several African American religious practices. In the twentieth anniversary edition, Pinn highlights the groundbreaking nature of his comparative theological undertaking. Written before its time, Varieties still calls scholars of black religions towards greater comparative theological work – unchaining theology from its Christian trappings and reminding us of the deep sense of belief and meaning amidst various traditions of meaning-making among African Americans. The twentieth edition offers the special treat of situating the theological investigations of Varieties within Pinn’s larger humanist project. With succinct conviction, Pinn traces the development of one of the most radical and passionate movements in black theology – disrupting a divine transcendence and hope for liberation while embracing embodiment and struggle with a gritty pulse for justice for African Americans and all humanity. More than an introduction to African American religions, Varieties offers a portal to both the history and the future of African American religious thought.

Monica A. Coleman | Center for Process Studies

This book will remain wonderfully essential to understanding the breadth and dynamism of African American religions.

Anthony Pinn has bequeathed to a world of readers a rarified introduction to African American religions that is distinguished by its unparalleled engagement with both the history and the theological imagination that have constituted multiple formations of Black religion. This new edition of Varieties of African American Experience extends the unique insights of Pinn to foreground the diversity and render the theological structures that Black religious communities have embraced and created. This book will remain wonderfully essential to understanding the breadth and dynamism of African American religions.

Sylvester A. Johnson | Virginia Union University

We have “hit bottom.” But it is not time to complain or hesitate. It is time to push the rock back up the hill again. So is Tony Pinn’s message to all of us on the 20th anniversary of this now classic work.

Varieties of African American Experience is a prophetic reflection on the moral, existential, and theological paradoxes inherent in radical comparison, by which I mean: comparison from no particular religious system or community. Paradoxes abound in such an intellectual act. Here, after all, we have the clear voice of an atheist theologian, of a humanist who cares deeply about religion and religious people, of a black intellectual who insists that the discourse around race and religion must not be restricted to black voices. Such intellectual paradox is a most effective way to confront and answer existential absurdity, here the absurdity of moral evil, unjust suffering, and the immeasurable (and continued) suffering of black bodies at the auction blocks, nooses, and now gun barrels and righteous ideologies of white religious people. The rock of Sisyphus has clearly rolled down the hill again. We are at a moment of immense gravity and apparent despair. We have “hit bottom.” But it is not time to complain or hesitate. It is time to push the rock back up the hill again. So is Tony Pinn’s message to all of us on the 20th anniversary of this now classic work.

Jeffrey J. Kripal | Rice University