The Generic Structure of Afro-American Theology and Response by Cornell West and Book Review by Cornell West and Charles Long (video)

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Lecture The Generic Structure of Black Theology, by Dr. James Evans. Response, Dr. Cornell West. Book review: Prophesy Deliverance, Dr.s Cornell West and Charles Long

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Dr. James Evans gives lecture on the generic structure of Afro-American theology. Dr. Evans discusses the problems of structure, method and content that confront Afro-American theology. He further describes the need for a clear and concise identification and justification of the task of Afro-American theology. Dr. James Evans also describes how Afro-American theology is related to the proclamation of the African American church but not bound by it. In his response Dr. Cornell West raises the question whether or not it is time for foundational and systematic theology to come to an end. He also discusses African American theology and theology in general as a response to paralyzing pluralism. A book review of Dr. West’s book “Prophesy Deliverance” is also included.

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00:00:06 Charles Shelby Rooks introduces Dr. James Evans.

00:00:35 Dr. Evans gives takes podium and gives the title of his presentation “The Generic Structure of Afro American Theology”.

00:01:31 Talks about how Afro American theology is facing a crucial period in its development because the external drama’s and confrontations marking its articulations in the early 1960’s and 70’s have changed due to internal and external reasons.

00:04:14 Talks about internal and external questions to Black Theologians point to a need for clear and concise identification and justification of the task of African American Theology.

00:06:59 Talks about the generic principle and three tasks associated with the justification of African American theology, 1) Self-examination and the quest for ultimate truth, 2) proclamation of churches and 3) Socio political analysis and praxis in the global context.

00:36:42 Concludes presentation.

00:37:09 Cornell West states he would like to bring to light certain kinds of assumptions and presuppositions that Dr. Evans presentation evoked.

00:40:55 Talks about theology in general and African American theology in particular as responding to paralyzing pluralism.

00:41:58 Talks about the ghettoization of theological reflection, the move to the legitimization in the academy.

00:43:07 Talks about philosophical or foundational theology as a mode of self-examination and quest for ultimate truth and how Dr. Evans wavered between ultimate truth and universal truth and West believes these are important differences.

00:43:37 Talks about universal truth having rationalist overtones that is alien to the Christian conception of truth. When Jesus talks about himself as the truth or John talking about the truth coming into being it is not a universal truth that floats in the world of Platonic ideality but a truth that is historical its fleshly and worldly. Jesus actually is the truth.

00:45:06 Talks about Christian faith is a kin to a form of philosophical skepticism. The only truth is an existential truth and not a rational truth. Talks about truths that take form in lived experiences.

00:46:58 Talks about placement and the relationship between religious traditional intellectuals and religious organic intellectuals (called preachers) and how each of these two elites relate to each other. They at many times vie against each other and at other times fuse. This is a part of the placement process.

00:48:07 Talks about systematic or dogmatic theology in relation to the proclamation of churches and the need to flesh out what is meant by “the proclamation of the churches.”. Talks about the difference between and institution and a movement. Movements have come and gone Institutions remain.

00:51:19 James Evans responds to Cornell West.



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