Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope (Paperback)

Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope By Esau McCaulley Cover Image
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Outreach Resources of the Year, Christianity Today Book Award, The Gospel Coalition Book Award

Biblical Interpretation from the Black Church Tradition

Growing up in the American South, Esau McCaulley knew firsthand the ongoing struggle between despair and hope that marks the lives of some in the African American context. A key element in the fight for hope, he discovered, has long been the practice of Bible reading and interpretation that comes out of traditional Black churches. This ecclesial tradition is often disregarded or viewed with suspicion by much of the wider church and academy, but it has something vital to say.

Reading While Black is a personal and scholarly testament to the power and hope of Black biblical interpretation. At a time in which some within the African American community are questioning the place of the Christian faith in the struggle for justice, New Testament scholar McCaulley argues that reading Scripture from the perspective of Black church tradition is invaluable for connecting with a rich faith history and addressing the urgent issues of our times. In Reading While Black, Esau McCaulley:

  • Advocates for a model of interpretation that involves an ongoing conversation between the collective Black experience and the Bible,
  • Gives pride of place to the particular questions coming out of Black communities,
  • Gives the Bible space to respond by affirming, challenging, and at times, reshaping Black concerns, and
  • Demonstrates this model with studies on how Scripture speaks to topics often overlooked by white interpreters, such as ethnicity, political protest, policing, and slavery.

Ultimately McCaulley calls the church to a dynamic theological engagement with Scripture, in which Christians of diverse backgrounds dialogue with their own social location as well as the cultures of others. Reading While Black moves the conversation forward.

About the Author


Esau McCaulley (PhD, St. Andrews) is assistant professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. He is also the host of The Disrupters podcast. He is the author of Sharing in the Son's Inheritance and numerous articles in outlets such as Christianity Today, The Witness, and The Washington Post.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780830854868
ISBN-10: 083085486X
Publisher: IVP Academic
Publication Date: September 1st, 2020
Pages: 208
Language: English

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