Philemon is the shortest letter in the Pauline collection, yet——because it has to do with a slave separated from his master——it has played an inordinate role in the toxic brew of slavery and racism in the United States. In Onesimus Our Brother, leading African American biblical scholars tease out the often unconscious assumptions about religion, race, and culture that permeate contemporary interpretation of the New Testament and of Paul in particular. The editors argue that Philemon is as important a letter from an African American perspective as Romans or Galatians have proven to be in Eurocentric interpretation. The essays gathered here continue to trouble scholarly waters, interacting with the legacies of Hegel, Freud, Habermas, Ricoeur, and James C. Scott, as well as the historical experience of African American communities.
Contributors include the editors and Mitzi J. Smith, Margaret B. Wilkerson, James W. Perkinson, and Allen Dwight Callahan.
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Matthew V. Johnson is Senior Pastor of the Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and co-editor of The Passion of the Lord: African American Reflections (Fortress Press, 2005)
James A. Noel is the H. Eugene Farlough California Professor of African American Christianity at San Francisco The Passion of the Lord: African American Reflections (Fortress Press, 2005), and contributor to True to Our Native Land (Fortress Press, 2007). He is also convener and founder of the Graduate Theological Union's Black Church/Africana Studies Certificate Program.
Demetrius K. Williams teaches in the Theology Department at Marquette University and is the author of An End to This Strife: The Politics of Gender in African American Churches (2004).
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