Down, Up, and Over: Slave Religion and Black Theology

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Fortress Press, 2000 - Religion - 300 pages
Hopkins contends that the lives of enslaved African Americans were the foundational source of liberating faith and practice for African Americans today. Down, Up, and Over draws on their religious experience, and the example of their faith and witness, to develop a constructive theology of liberation. "African American belief structures and hope practices blossom from the black folk's religious encounters with God," Hopkins contends. The first half of his ambitious work reconstructs the cultural matrix of African American religion-a total way of life formed by Protestantism, American culture, and the institution of slavery (1619-1865)-in which racial identities developed. Whites from Europe and blacks from Africa arrived with specific, differing views of God, faith, practice, and humanity. Hopkins recreates their worldviews and how white theology sought to remake African Americans into naturally inferior beings divinely ordained into subservience. The counter voice of enslaved blacks begets the Spirit of Liberation. Tracking that Spirit, Hopkins crafts an explicit black theology of the Spirit of Liberation for us (God, chapter 4), with us (Jesus, chapter 5), and in us (human purpose, chapter 6). Out of the crucible of slavery emerges the lineaments of a constructive religious vision: the constitution of a new self and a divinely purposed "liberation toward full spiritual and material humanity." Hopkins sweeping vision, impressive scholarship, and astute social analysis make for a fascinating and important volume, one that can help all readers find meaning and purpose in the daunting 350-year pilgrimage of African Americans.
 

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Contents

Two Faces of Protestantism and American Culture
13
Slavery in American Culture
19
Cultural and Religious Justifications
26
Conclusion
37
NOTES
42
From Sunup to Sundown Slavemasters Constitute the African American Self
51
Black Labor for White Profit
53
Networks of Discipline Control and Reclassification
66
Knowledge of GodEpistemologyHow Does God Reveal?
166
The Attributes of God
171
Notes
190
JesusThe Spirit of Total Liberation with Us
193
The Goal of Liberation with Us
194
The Road to the Goal
200
Fruit of the Journey
215
Notes
235

Architecture of Slavery Churches
83
Conclusion
93
NOTES
95
From Sundown to Sunup The African American CoConstitutes the Black Self
107
A Background
109
Seizing Sacred Domains
116
A Divine Right to Resist
128
Creating a Syncretized Religion
135
Conclusion
145
Constructive Black Theology The Spirit of Liberation
155
GodThe Spirit of Total Liberation for Us
157
The Acts of GodEthicsWhat Does God Do?
158
The Being of GodOntologyWho Is God?
162
Human Purpose The Spirit of Total Liberation in Us
237
Created to Be Free
239
Communalism
251
MicroResistance and SelfCreation
254
Racial Cultural Identity
262
Language
266
Spiritual Inspiration
270
Conclusion
274
Notes
275
Bibliography
279
Index
289
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Page 14 - Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element.

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