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The Talking Book
African Americans and the Bible
The Talking Book casts the Bible as the central character in a vivid portrait of black America, tracing the origins of African-American culture from slavery's secluded forest prayer meetings to the bright lights and bold style of today's hip-hop artists.
The Bible has profoundly influenced African Americans throughout history. From a variety of perspectives this wide-ranging book is the first to explore the Bible's role in the triumph of the black experience. Using the Bible as a foundation, African Americans shared religious beliefs, created their own music, and shaped the ultimate key to their freedom-literacy. Allen Callahan highlights the intersection of biblical images with African-American music, politics, religion, art, and literature.
The author tells a moving story of a biblically informed African-American culture, identifying four major biblical images-Exile, Exodus, Ethiopia, and Emmanuel. He brings these themes to life in a unique African-American history that grows from the harsh experience of slavery into a rich culture that endures as one of the most important forces of twenty-first-century America.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"'The Talking Book... is a passionate and beautiful meditation from a black New Testament scholar on the African American reception of (nearly) all-Jewish narrative about losers ending up as winners.' David Martin, Times Literary Supplement 'In this informative academic volume, Callahan examines how the music and literature of black Americans are shot through with biblical images... From W.E.B. Du Bois to Toni Morrison, black writers have invoked Jesus to signify 'the suffering of black people'. Callahan's investigations will doubtless interest students of African-American religion.' Publishers Weekly"