Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Book Review: Stony The Road We Trod

By: Angela Lee Price

I highly recommend the book, published in 1991, entitled Stony The Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation, edited by Cain Hope Felder. It is a collaboration between several African American Bible scholars, and contains essays by Thomas Hoyt, Jr., William H. Myers, Renita Weems, Vincent Wimbush, David T. Shannon, Cain Hope Felder, Charles B. Copher, Randall C. Bailey, John W. Waters, Clarice J. Martin, and Lloyd A. Lewis. All of these scholars have Ph.D.s in their fields.

Stony The Road We Trod not only reflects fabulous critics on New Testament interpretation, but also contains brilliant Old Testament critics, including Charles B. Copher’s “The Black Presence in the Old Testament,” and Randall C. Bailey’s “Beyond Identification: The Use of Africans in Old Testament Poetry and Narratives.”

African American women will appreciate Stony’s presentation of women in the Bible and womanist perspectives in essays by John W. Waters, Renita Weems and Clarice Martin.

I feel strongly that African American scholars are not being supported through the purchase of their books as they should. Dr. Forrest Harris, president of American Baptist Bible College in Nashville made this point eloquently in his November 17, 2005 sermon entitled "Preaching Freedom Today." He was the keynote speaker for Simmons College of Kentucky's Founder's Day observance. He stated in the evening address that, and I am paraphrasing, we are too busy gobbling up material by people like Robert Schuller, Steven Covey, Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, Charles Stanley, and others as if black theologians and black poets haven't written anything. I agree with Dr. Harris. When African Americans purchase materials by white authors exclusively, or in preference to African American contributions, we not only deny the critical abilities of people of color, but also contribute to the proliferation of, to use Dr. Harris' words of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life, "non-prophetic discourse," prevalent today.

About the Editor:
Cain Hope Felder is Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at the School of Divinity, Howard University, Washington, D.C., and Editor of The Journal of Religious Thought. He is also author of Troubling Biblical Waters: Race, Class, Family.

This book review featured in the January, 2006 Jesus Saves Newsletter.

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