An Introductory Reader’s Guide to Black Theology, by Dr. Terance Espinoza.
The term “Black Theology” is defined here as Christian theology by or about people who identify as Black, African, Caribbean, Womanist, African-American, or any other related identity markers. The opinions and goals in this body of literature are varied, and there is no single theological representative to rule them all. The purpose of this list is to provide resources that speak from a particular social location and that will contribute to becoming more well-read in this broad area of theological reflection.
Black Theology and Feminist Theology are, at least historically, the two most widely-recognized social locations that have a robust and growing body of institutionally-recognized scholarship in the area of Biblical and Theological Studies. For example, in 2020, Charlie Trimm and Brittany Kim of The Institution for Biblical Research (IBR) published a 170-page, organized and cross-referenced bibliography of Black Old Testament scholars, available at the IBR website: https://ibr-bbr.org/bibliography-of-black-old-testament-scholars.
My goal for this page is to continue to recognize and link to other bibliographies of Black Biblical and Theological scholarship, as well as continue to develop this introductory reader’s guide.
- Bongmba, Elias Kifon, eds. The Routledge Handbook of African Theology. New York: Routledge, 2020.
- Felder, Cain Hope, ed. Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992.
- Fields, Bruce. Introducing Black Theology: Three Crucial Questions for the Evangelical Church. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001.
- Hopkins, Dwight N. and Edward P. Antonio, The Cambridge Companion to Black Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
- Page, Hugh R., Jr., ed. The Africana Bible: Reading Israel’s Scriptures from Africa and the Africa Diaspora. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009.
- Powery, Emerson B. “African American Criticism.” Pages 236-349 in Hearing the New Testament: Strategies for Interpretation. Edited by Joel B. Green. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010.
- Mbuvi, Andrew M. “African Biblical Studies: An Introduction to an Emerging Discipline” Currents in Biblical Research 15 (2017): 149-178.
- McCormack, Michael Brandon. “Black Theology.” Oxford Bibliographies. 2016. Online: https://www.oxfordbibliographies.
- Trimm, Charlie and Brittany Kim. “Black Old Testament Scholars Bibliography.” Institute for Biblical Research. November, 2020. Online: https://ibr-bbr.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/BlackOTBibliography.pdf
- Trimm, Charlie anand Brittany Kim. “Works Written by Black Old Testament Scholars“ Every Voice Kingdom Diversity. 2021. n.p. Online: https://everyvoicekingdomdiversity.org/database/
Commentaries (canonical order)
- Africa Bible Commentary series.
- Adeyemo, Tokunboh, ed. Africa Bible Commentary: A One-Volume Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.
- Blount, Brian K., ed. True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007.
- Andria, Solomon. Romans. Africa Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.
- Ngewa, Samuel M. Galatians. Africa Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010.
- ———-. 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. Africa Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.
- Tamfu, Dieudonné. 2 Peter & Jude. Africa Bible Commentary.Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2018.
- Adamo, David T. Reading and Interpreting the Bible in African Indigenous Churches. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2001.
- Akinwale, Anthony. “Catholic Theology in Africa.” The Oxford Handbook of Catholic Theology. Edited by Lewis Ayres and Medi Ann Volpe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.
- Bailey, Randall C. “How Did We Get Reduced to a Parenthesis?” Black Theology 4 (2006): 107-15.
- Bailey, Randall C., ed. Yet with a Steady Beat: Contemporary U.S. Afrocentric Biblical Interpretation. Semeia Studies. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2003.
- Bailey, Randall C. ed. The Recovery of Black Presence: An Interdisciplinary Exploration. Essays in Honor of Dr. Charles B. Copher. Nashville: Abingdon, 1995.
- Bailey, Randall C. and Tina Pippin, eds. Race, Class, and the Politics of Bible Translation. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996.
- Bantu, Vince. The Bisrat: Apologetics in African Terms. Jude 3 Project. n.p. Online: https://jude3project.org/new-products/bisrat
- Black Theology: An International Journal
- Bowens, Lisa M. African American Readings of Paul: Reception, Resistance, and Transformation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2020.
- Braxton, Brad Ronnell. No Longer Slaves: Galatians and African American Experience. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2002.
- Cone, James H. and Gayraud Wilmore, eds. Black Theology: A Documentary History: 1966-1979 and 1980-1993. 2 vols. Maryknoll, Orbis, 1993.
- Cone, James, The Cross and the Lynching Tree. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2011.
- ———-. Risks of Faith: The Emergence of a Black Theology of Liberation, 1968-1998. Boston: Beacon, 1999.
- ———-. A Black Theology of Liberation. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1970.
- ———-. Black Theology & Black Power. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.
- Day, Keri. Notes of a Native Daughter: Testifying in Theological Education. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2021.
- Ellis, Carl. Free at Last? The Gospel in the African American Experience. 2nd edition.Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996. 1st edition published under the title, Beyond Liberation. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1983.
- Emerson, Michael O. and Christian Smith. Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. Revised. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
- Evans, James H. We Have Been Believers: An African American Systematic Theology. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012.
- Fields, Lisa and Yana Conner. Through Eyes of Color: A Contextualized Guide to Help you Know What you Believe and Why. Jude 3 Project Curriculum. Jacksonville, FL: Jude 3 Project, 2019. Online: https://www.througheyesofcolor.com/
- Gerbner, Katherine, Christian Slavery: Conversion and Race in a Protestant Atlantic World. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania, 2018.
- Hart, Drew G.I., Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism. Harrisonburg, Virginia: Herald, 2016.
- Hayes, Diana L. And Still We Rise: An Introduction to Black Liberation Theology. New York: Paulist, 1996
- Hopkins, Dwight N. Introducing Black Theology of Liberation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1999.
- Jagessar, Michael N. and Anthony G. Reddie. Black Theology in Britain: A Reader. Cross Cultural Theologies. Philadelphia: Routledge, 2007.
- Jennings, Willie James. The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2011.
- Junior, Nyasha. Reimagining Hagar: Blackness and Bible. Biblical Refigurations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.
- Kantangole, Emmanuel. Born from Lament: The Theology and Politics of Hope in Africa. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017.
- ———-. The Sacrifice of Africa: A Political Theology for Africa. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011.
- King, Martin Luther, Jr. Why We Can’t Wait. New York: Harper & Row, 1964.
- Mathews, Mary Beth. Doctrine and Race: African American Evangelicals and Fundamentalism between the Wars. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 2017.
- Masenya, Madipoane (ngwan’a Mphahlele), How Worthy is the Woman of Worth? Rereading Proverbs 31:10-31 in African South Africa. Bible and Theology in Africa 4. New York: Peter Lang, 2004.
- Mburu, Elizabeth. African Hermeneutics. Nigeria: HippoBooks, 2019.
- McCaulley, Esau. Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation and an Exercise in Hope. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2020.
- Mosala, Itumeleng. Biblical Hermeneutics and Black Theology in South Africa. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989.
- Oden, Thomas C. How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind: Rediscovering the African Seedbed of Western Christianity. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2007.
- Page, Hugh R., Jr. Israel’s Poetry of Resistance: Africana Perspectives on Early Hebrew Verse. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2013.
- Perkins, John. One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race and Love. Chicago: Moody, 2018.
- Perkins, John. Race, Love, and the Struggle We Must Win. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2017.
- Powery, Emerson B. and Rodney S. Sadler, Jr. The Genesis of Liberation: Biblical Interpretation in the Antebellum Narratives of the Enslaved. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016.
- Raboteau, Al. Slave Religion: The Invisible Institution in the Antebellum South. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
- Reddie, Anthony, ed. Black Theology, Slavery and Contemporary Christianity: 200 Years and No Apology. Philadelphia: Routledge, 2010.
- Rice, Gene. Africa and the Bible: Corrective Lenses – Critical Essays. Edited by Alice Ogden Bellis. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2019.
- Sadler, Rodney S., Jr. Can A Cushite Change His Skin? An Examination of Race, Ethnicity, and Othering in the Hebrew Bible. The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies. New York: T&T Clark, 2009.
- Smith, Christian and Michael Emerson. Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
- Tisby, Jemar. The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2019.
- Wallis, Jim. America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2016.
- West, Cornel. Race Matters. 25th anniversary edition with a new introduction.Boston: Beacon, 2017.
- Wimbush, Vincent L., ed. African American and the Bible: Sacred Texts and Social Textures. New York: Continuum, 2001.
- Yamauchi, Edwin M. Africa and the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004.
- Yong, Amos and Estrelda Y. Alexander. Afro-Pentecostalism: Black Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in History and Culture. Religion, Race, and Ethnicity Series. New York: New York University Press, 2011.
- Wilmore Gayraud S. Pragmatic Spirituality: The Christian Faith Through an Afrocentric Lens. New York: New York University Press, 2004.
*This page is a work in progress and will continue to be developed. It is being published now in an effort to collaborate with students and colleagues. If you have suggestions for resources that belong on this page, please leave them in a comment below.
Note to students
As with all research bibliographies, resources are included not because they are endorsed but because they make a contribution to the discipline in a meaningful way. It is not expected that you will agree with everything in these resources or with everything the authors say in other venues. But it is important to read with a generous and open attitude in order to understand what they are saying so that whether you agree or disagree with them, you are able to articulate their views in a fair and clear manner.