© 2010

The Tragic Vision of African American Religion

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Matthew V. Johnson
    Pages 1-12
  3. Matthew V. Johnson
    Pages 41-61
  4. Matthew V. Johnson
    Pages 63-83
  5. Matthew V. Johnson
    Pages 153-162
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 163-189

About this book


Many have used the term 'tragic' to refer to African American religious and cultural experience. After a studied meditation on and articulation of the 'tragic vision,' Johnson argues that African American Christian Consciousness is an expression of the tragic and a tragic expression of the Christian Faith.


Africa African America argue consciousness experience religion theology

About the authors

MATTHEW V. JOHNSON is the pastor for The Church of the Good Shepherd in College Park, Georgia and an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Morehouse College, USA.

Bibliographic information


"Matthew V. Johnson is one of the most profound and prophetic voices of his generation.His book is a serious and substantive probing into the tragic character and content of African American religion - a creative transvaluation of the Christianity given to Black people.Don t miss this powerful work!" - Cornel West, Princeton University

"W.E.B. DuBois told us some time ago that the Atlantic slave trade was a tragedy that beggared the Greeks. Matthew V. Johnsonpresents for the first time a systematic interpretation of the nature and meaning of the tragic vision expressed through the presence of African people in the United States.He opens the meaning of tragedy toits expression in performance, rhetoric, and to the discourses of philosophyand theology.This is unique among the many studies of African American religion." - Charles H. Long, author of Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion

"This is an inspirational book! Looking into, around, over, and beneath African American religious experiences and employing insights from modern psychology and philosophy, he provides a new perspective on black religion; he shows how, amid their sorrows and sadness, black men and women have created faith. From their tragic experiences, they found visions of God and community, visions that haunt and help everyday. This book allows us to understand the questioning faithful, those who sing despair with joy, and those who clap when they wish to cry. Without doubt, this is one of the finest meditations ever written on African American religion." - Edward J. Blum, author of W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet

"This book is an important and persuasive contribution showing how African American religious thought helps us to rethink the central question of tragedy's relationship to Christian theology." - David Tracy, Professor of Theology and the Philosophy of Religions, The University of Chicago Divinity School

"This book is a triumph of incisive thinking, probing analysis, and eloquentargument. Matthew V. Johnson is an important voice for our global postmodern blues and this book arrives at the right time. A must read." - Robert M. Franklin, Ph.D.