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date: 25 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

African American theology challenges, but also promotes, concepts and constructions of “God” within the framework of theological discourse in North America. It is largely shaped by the historical inhumanity of racial oppression and hegemony in America, where blacks, fashioned in the crucible of slavery, asserted their human worth and dignity. This essay examines the historical and ideological constructions of God within African American theology since the mid-twentieth century. It looks at more contemporary theological formulations of God and considers doctrines of God by placing African American theology into four major “camps”: Christian personalism, black liberation theology and womanist theology, atheistic humanism, and pragmatic reconstructions of African American theology. It first provides an overview of the historical, sociopolitical, cultural, and intellectual context of African Americans in the twentieth century to elucidate the social milieu that shaped African American theology as well as the changing patterns of its discourse vis-à-vis its social context.

Keywords: African American theology, God, slavery, doctrines of God, Christian personalism, liberation theology, womanist theology, atheistic humanism, African Americans

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