Philosophy of Religion and the African American Experience

Conversations with My Christian Friends


Most white philosophers of religion generally presume that philosophy of religion is based on what is a false universality; whereby the white/Western experience is paradigmatic of humanity at-large. The fact remains that Howard Thurman, James H. Cone and William R. Jones, among others, have produced a substantial amount of theological work quite worthy of consideration by philosophers of religion. Yet this corpus of thought is not reflected in the scholarly literature that constitutes the main body of philosophy of religion. Neglect and ignorance of African American Studies is widespread in the academy. By including chapters on Thurman, Cone and Jones, the present book functions as a corrective to this scholarly lacuna.

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Biographical Note

John H. McClendon III, Ph. D., Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University. He is author of C. L. R. James’s Notes on Dialectics (2005) and co-author of Beyond the White Shadow (2012) a work in the philosophy of sports.

Table of contents


Introduction: Conversation on African Americans and Christianity
1 Can a Philosopher Spoil a Good Christian? An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion and the African American Experience
2 Philosophy of Religion: The Social Basis of Theology and the Secular Character of Philosophy
3 Howard Thurman as Historical Investigator: On Jesus—The Man—As Jew and the Meaning of Christianity
4 James Cone and the Old Testament as History Book: A Philosophical Assessment
5 Biblical Scripture is a History Book: An African American Tradition
6 Constructing Noah as Black: A Contemporary Myth about ‘Historical’ Origins of a Biblical Character
7 William R. Jones and Philosophical Theology: Transgressing and Transforming Conventional Boundaries of Black Liberation Theology
8 Divine Racism and the Matter of Internal Criticism: Theology, Theodicy, and Ideology
Conclusion: Social Outlook and Sacred Text



All interested in philosophy of religion and the African American Christian experience. Also those with interest in Black theology and theologians such as Howard Thurman, James Cone and William R. Jones.

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