The Talking Book: African Americans and the Bible
Yale University Press, 2008 M10 1 - 295 pages
A striking narrative of the Bible’s central role in African-American history from the early days of slavery to the present
The Talking Book casts the Bible as the central character in a vivid portrait of black America, tracing the origins of African-American culture from slavery’s secluded forest prayer meetings to the bright lights and bold style of today’s hip-hop artists.
The Bible has profoundly influenced African Americans throughout history. From a variety of perspectives this wide-ranging book is the first to explore the Bible’s role in the triumph of the black experience. Using the Bible as a foundation, African Americans shared religious beliefs, created their own music, and shaped the ultimate key to their freedom—literacy. Allen Callahan highlights the intersection of biblical images with African-American music, politics, religion, art, and literature.
The author tells a moving story of a biblically informed African-American culture, identifying four major biblical images—Exile, Exodus, Ethiopia, and Emmanuel. He brings these themes to life in a unique African-American history that grows from the harsh experience of slavery into a rich culture that endures as one of the most important forces of twenty-first-century America.
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