Hugely impressive in its historical retrieval, Hopkins's ambitious book first 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). Whites from Europe and Blacks from Africa arrived with specific, differing views of God, faith, and humanity. Hopkins recreates their worldviews and shows how white theology sought to remake African Americans into naturally inferior beings divinely ordained into subservience. The counter voice of enslaved blacks is the birth of the Spirit of liberation.
Tracking that Spirit, Hopkins also crafts an explicit black theology of the Spirit of liberation for us (God), with us (Jesus), and in us (human purpose). Out of the crucible of slavery emerges a constructive religious vision: the constitution of a new self and a divinely purposed "liberation toward full spiritual and material humanity."
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