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The Bible in Human Transformation

Toward a New Paradigm in Bible Studies

By Walter Wink

"Historical biblical criticism is bankrupt." That startling affirmation began The Bible in Human Transformation when it first appeared in 1975. Wink asserts that despite the valuable contributions of the historical-critical method, we have reached the point where this method is incapable of allowing Scripture to evoke personal and social transformation today. More than thirty years later, Wink now looks back in a new preface over the more and less humanizing developments in New Testament studies of the last few decades and renews his call for a transforming approach to biblical interpretation.

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Cross and Resurrection

God's Wonder and Mystery

by Klaus Schwarzwäller; translated by Ken Sundet Jones and Mark C. Mattes

German theologian, Klaus Schwarzwäller reclaims Christ's cross and resurrection as God's wonder and mystery. He connects with art, history, contemporary culture, and especially scripture in presenting a trenchant analysis of the modes of power and production that have undergirded both society and the church since the Enlightenment.

The church in the present era comes under the power of the Enlightenment's quest for truth in the measurable, reproducible, and rational. The proof of the Spirit’s power thus comes to depend on the criteria of reason and theory, rather than on the Spirit’s work in the reality of daily life.

When the church and theology operate in this way, the cross and resurrection become something that requires our management, manipulation, or expert interpretation. Thus, the church and theology wind up existing for their own ends, and freedom and faith are replaced with brutal indifference and control.

The truth of the gospel is that on the cross Christ bore the brunt of power and production that could not bear his utter devotion to God and care for the powerless. The cross excludes our control and the power of the resurrection ensures that the negativity of human life borne on the cross will be overcome.

Schwarzwäller calls the church and theologians to relinquish both their conformity to society and the indifference that power and production create and instead focus on tending to God’s word so that the cross and resurrection are again revealed as God’s wonder and mystery.

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What is African American Religion?

By Anthony B. Pinn

Is there really a monolithic "black church"? Distilling the arguments of Pinn's important and provocative work in Terror and Triumph, this brief work asks the central question: What really is African American religion?

Sketching the religious landscape of African American communities today, Pinn makes explicit the tension in traditional conversations about black religion that privilege either Christianity in particular or organizations (with doctrines and creeds) in general. Discussing the misunderstandings and historical inaccuracies of such views, Pinn offers an alternate theory of black religion that begins with a basic push for embodied meaning as its core impulse.

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