Knowing Christ Crucified

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“Francis of Assisi is reported to have said that the cross is a book. When we open that book in love and in intelligence, we encounter traces of the crucified Jewish Jesus in human social suffering in our world.”

Knowing Christ Crucified is a powerful reading of the Cross of Jesus, both as it is written in scripture and in the experi­ence of the poor and oppressed—particularly in the history of black people in America, from the time of slavery up to the present.

Beginning with the “dark wisdom of the slaves,” Shawn Copeland shows how enslaved people found in the story of Jesus both an affirmation of their humanity and a repudiation of a system that held them in bondage. She goes on to ex­plore some of the challenges to human living in a world shaped and directed by white supremacy. And finally, she presses the meaning of solidarity in the concrete circumstances of American life.

These challenging essays reflect her efforts to read the book of the cross, and to grapple with what it might mean “to take up the cross daily and follow Jesus” with those crucified in our time.

Shawn Copeland is a professor of theology at Boston College. A former President of the Catholic Theological Society of America, she is also a recipient of the Society’s highest honor, the John Courtney Murray Award. Her books in­clude Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, and Being (Fortress), and (with LaReine-Marie Mosely and Albert Raboteau) Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience (Orbis 2009).

Book Details

Knowing Christ Crucified
The Witness of African American Religious Experience
M. Shawn Copeland

Knowing Christ Crucified Table of Contents (978-1-62698-298-7_toc.pdf, 516 Kb) [Download]

Truly an exceptional book ...
Copeland's black Christological and soteriological hermeneutic does not allow the church to escape its tragic reality. It does not get to forget its past and present in order to focus on superficial spiritual meditations. It instead reminds the Christian church that Jesus' ministry faced past and present in order to teach God's will on earth. History is not to be bypassed; it is to be confronted in order for life in God to be fully known.
Highly esteemed Catholic theologian M. Shawn Copeland is more than a reliable witness. She is a skilled academic who knows how to weave the threads of oppression into the new fabric of justice, using historical, theological, musical, philosophical, and faith-filled resources. She honors both the legacy of African American slaves and the 21st century #BlackLivesMatter movement. In this clearly written, accessible book, the praxis of solidarity is the meaning of discipleship.
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