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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books; Reprint edition (21 Nov 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570751579
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570751578
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 13.1 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 623,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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There has been and still is much debate among the critics of Black Power regarding the precise meaning of the words. Read the first page
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1.0 out of 5 stars Incandescent and Incoherent 2 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
James H Cone's 'Black Theology and Black Power' is one of the foundation documents of 'Black Theology', it is also very much a piece of writing of its time. Yet with this in mind, it is also a badly written and incoherent book, one that mistakes incandescent rage for coherent theological thinking, leaving one with an unreadable and incoherent theological treatise which is much to the detriment of Black Theology.

The main thesis of Cone's work is that for a long period of time white people have seen black people as 'its' (things, as opposed to people, or as he puts it, 'it' rather than 'thou'). The message of Black Theology is, for Cone, to reverse that trend, to ensure that black people see themselves (and are seen as 'thou' as opposed to 'it'). A process described, at some length, in Edward Said's 'Orientalism'. Unfortunately what Cone actually does is to turn white people from 'thou' to 'it' by making them the subject of 'Black Theology's' rage, assuming that white people are a homogenous whole. In this he uses inverse racism*, making white people as the 'created and despised other' within Cone's theological imagination.

Cone's theology is incoherent as he allows his rage to get the better of him, dispensing with theological form or thinking and allowing his rants to get the better of him. Thus, whilst he is able to provide an analysis of the situation as he sees it, he is provides no articulated theological response, merely a repetition of the idea that sin and salvation are caught up in the colour of one's skin, rather than one's behaviour. In this, Cone sets himself up as a demi-god, dispensing salvation on his own terms, rather than those of the Bible.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A complete waste of paper and INK. 12 Jun 2010
I have to say, I was disappointed with this book; not only with James Cone's political agenda that has been carelessly and clumsily shrouded with Christianity through it's entire, but also with his tangents and tantrums. Cone's theology is saturated with the frustration and bitterness on account of the Black struggle for civil rights in America- something that I am sure is justifiable, and of which I have no problem with. But what I do have a problem with is when guys like Mr. Cone use the Bible as a 'spring board' for their own private outrage against society- in the context of this book, it would be against the white church and white social empire. This book is not a constructive book in the sense of reaching or attempting to reach a productive conclusion- Mr. Cone just rambles on and on about the poor treatment of African Americans who live, as he puts it, 'in a white man's world'.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.4 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FOUNDATIONAL DOCUMENT OF "BLACK THEOLOGY" 15 May 2012
By Steven H. Propp - Published on
James Hal Cone (born 1938) is the founder of Black Liberation Theology, a Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, and author of books such as A Black Theology of Liberation, God of the Oppressed, Black Theology: A Documentary History, etc.

He wrote in the Introduction to this 1969 book, "Black Power is the most important development in American life in this century," and "there is a need to begin to analyze it from a theological perspective." He adds, "It is my thesis ... that Black Power ... is not the antithesis of Christianity... It is, rather, Christ's central message to twentieth-century America."

He defines Black Power as "complete emancipation of black people from white oppression by whatever means black people deem necessary." (Pg. 6) It is not racism or hatred; it is "an affirmation of the humanity of blacks in spite of white racism." (Pg. 16)

He argues that Black Power and Christianity have this in common: the liberation of man. (Pg. 39) He suggests further that if Christ is present among the oppressed, "he must be working through the activity of Black Power. This alone is my thesis." (Pg. 48) As a slogan, he offers, "Christ means Black Power!" (pg. 112), and "To be Christian is to be one of those whom God has chosen. God has chosen black people!" (Pg. 151)

Although Cone's rhetoric may seem too "fiery" today, we must remember that he wrote these words in 1969, not 2012 or later; America was significantly different back then. But the "positive" affirmations of his message still have their power, even today.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Examination of Politics, Race, and Religion 7 July 2012
By bill - Published on
Black Theology & Black Power is the greatest book ever written on black religion in the United States. Professor James Cone of Union Theological Seminary in New York City wrote this classic text in 1969, at the height of African Americans struggling to be recognized as human beings in the United States.

Dr. Cone argues that if African Americans intend to discover their true self-worth, they must be willing to embrace a new cultural and religious aesthetic. The old hermeneutics have not allowed African Americans to come into their fullness as a people or as unique individuals, who are called to discover their divinity.

Black Theology & Black Power is a must read for any African American clergy or black Christian in general, who wants to experience the Divine anew.

I highly recommend this book because it has the potential to change ones thinking about the Divine. It is books like Black Theology & Black Power that will ultimate change to world.

Douglas E. Thomas, Ph.D.The Obama Factor: How Barack Obama Elevated Human Consciousness
20 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Culmination of meaning 19 Jan 2007
By A. Tripp - Published on
James Cone put forth Black Theology and Black Power as an explanation of the change required for black men to survive in this society. Cone defines black power as, "complete emancipation of black people by whatever means black people deem necessary." This emancipation call means, "black people no longer see themselves as without human dignity but as men." Cone explains that black people see themselves without human dignity because white society has objectified them. As an object they are not relational beings, but objects of exploit for the privilege and the empowerment of whites. For Cone this went back to the beginning of the African experience in America. The suffering of the black experience was real, and "black people cannot live according to what ought to be, but according to what is."

This book is without the luxury of time to come to grips with black meaning in a society which incessantly indoctrinated him with a message that he was less then human, less then whole. Cone did not have the luxury of education in the seminary in theologies other then those made by white men talking to other white men as the church made even Augustine and Jesus white in his time. He did not write in a vacuum and neither can his book be read in a vacuum.

It is an essential book for understanding Black Liberation.
5.0 out of 5 stars A life-changing book... 9 July 2014
By Stephen J. Smith - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dr. Cone truly opened my eyes to what it means to be Black in this world and to be a Christian in this world. This is a must-read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Union Student Review 4 Mar 2013
By Natalie R. Perkins - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book! Provides insight on a time period which desperately needed a wake up call. Taking a class from Dr. Cone now who is sharing what led up to his writing of his books.
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