Living Beyond Death: Engaging the Christo-logics of Cone’s God of the Oppressed after Williams’s Sisters in the Wilderness

McGee, Timothy

In the 1997 preface to this remarkable book, James Cone criticizes his original Christological emphasis, stating, “No one people’s language and experience are capable of capturing the full reality and presence of God” (xiv). Christology, in this modality of capture, becomes a strategy of grounding, that is, of situating a particular cultural formation in and as the divinely instituted form of human life, as the origin and goal. Christology as a mode of capture is a regulative discourse, and as such, another imposition of limits, another way to securely hold, to place in (the) hold, the diffuse mobilities and relations that are creaturely life. It would be, therefore, a Christology still in the hold of, or the hold that is, white supremacy. Cone’s concerns over theology in the mode of capture are well-founded; however, there are aspects of his earlier Christology that also elude this pretense toward capture without relying, as Cone does in 1997, on a more general dialectic of transcendence and human finitude.

This paper was written and is given in honor of the 40th anniversary of James Cone’s God of the Oppressed.


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August 17, 2022