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Jonathon S. Kahn's Divine Discontent: The Religious Imagination of W.E.B. Du PDF

By Jonathon S. Kahn

ISBN-10: 0195307895

ISBN-13: 9780195307894

W. E. B. Du Bois is an out of this world candidate for a undertaking in faith. His skepticism of and, even, hostility towards faith is quickly validated and canonically permitted. certainly, he spent his occupation rejecting normative non secular commitments to associations and supernatural ideals. during this e-book, Jonathon Kahn deals a clean and arguable analyzing of Du Bois that seeks to overturn this view. Kahn contends that the normal remedy of Du Bois turns a deaf ear to his writings. For if we are open to their spiritual timbre, these writings-from his epoch-making The Souls of Black people to his unstudied sequence of parables that depict the lynching of an African American Christ-reveal a digital obsession with faith. Du Bois's ethical, literary, and political mind's eye is inhabited through non secular rhetoric, thoughts and tales. Divine Discontent recovers and introduces readers to the remarkably advanced and sundry spiritual global in Du Bois's writings. it is a global of sermons, of non secular virtues corresponding to sacrifice and piety, of jeremiads that struggle for a black American state in the better kingdom. not like different African American spiritual voices on the time, even though, Du Bois's non secular orientation is fantastically heterodox--it exists open air the limits of institutional Christianity. Kahn exhibits how Du Bois self-consciously marshals spiritual rhetoric, ideas, typologies, narratives, virtues, and moods so one can problem conventional Christian worldview during which occasions functionality to verify a divine order. Du Bois's antimetaphysical spiritual voice, he argues, locations him firmly within the American culture of pragmatic non secular naturalism typified by way of William James. This cutting edge analyzing of Du Bois should still entice students of yankee faith, highbrow historical past, African American experiences, and philosophy of faith.

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Extra resources for Divine Discontent: The Religious Imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois

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46 The Du Boisian African American self is riven on the strength of realizing its complex social positioning. Toni Morrison writes of double consciousness: “W. E. B. ”47 This is an insight of a pragmatist sort: Double consciousness and Du Bois’s great metaphor of the veil represent pragmatist tools for thinking critically about African American existence in light of a relentlessly metastasizing American racism. In effect, Du Bois turns the double consciousness 30 divine discontent problematic into a call for agency: It changed the child of Emancipation to the youth with dawning self-consciousness, self-realization, self-respect.

10 Nonetheless, to my mind, this overstates the case. Beyond the difficulties of actually identifying the definitive black version of Christianity,11 Marable’s language of “embrace” and “conversion to” Christianity—and the echo of this in Blum’s work in his claim that Du Bois “conceived of a new Christianity”12 — mutes what is distinct about Du Bois’s religious sensibilities: Du Bois selfconsciously held at arm’s length normative religious doctrines and practices. In fact, he was often quick to reject them outright.

78 How does religion confirm deep epistemic realities such as supernatural foundations? How does it allow us to make contact with the divine reality? How can we know that our lives receive divine sanction? For pragmatic religious naturalists, all of these questions, questions that ask for epistemological certainty, are exercises in futility. Religion simply cannot provide this type of foundational knowledge. What, then, does religion provide if not antecedent truths? What are its sources of knowledge if not supernatural ones?

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Divine Discontent: The Religious Imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois by Jonathon S. Kahn


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