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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

January 17, 2024: We are one people. African American Readings of Paul with Lisa Marie Bowens

Wednesday, January 17, 2024: We are one people. African American Readings of Paul with Lisa Marie Bowens

(Quote by Black, female preacher Zilpha Elaw 1790 - 1846)

African American Readings of Paul with Lisa Marie Bowens

As I watch this discussion by Dr. Bowens, I am struck by how she speaks so evenly about slavery which used scripture to justify its horrors. During her discussion she introduces us to several strong Black women prophets who fight the racism of the age to proclaim the good news of the Gospels. Their voices ring out through the centuries and I have to ask "why have we allowed so much racism and for so long in our country and throughout the world - and empowered it through the use of a racist interpretation of scripture?"

This is a presentation organized by FutureChurch. Princeton Theological Seminary Associate Professor of New Testament, Lisa Marie Bowens, discusses her ground-breaking book, African American Readings of Paul: Reception, Resistance, and Transformation. During her presentation, Dr. Bowens highlights early Black women preachers and petitions from her book that reclaim the liberating messages of scripture to oppose slavery.

He's the link to this excellent presentation:

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Women Witnesses for Racial Justice Series: You can view free downloadable resources and past presentations from our WWRJ series at https://futurechurch/org/wwrj.

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African American Readings of Paul: Reception, Resistance, and Transformation (Eerdmans 2020), is the first book to investigate a historical trajectory of how African Americans have understood Paul and utilized his work to resist and protest injustice and racism in their own writings from the 1700s to the mid-twentieth century. In it, Dr. Bowens takes a historical, theological, and biblical approach to explore interpretations of Paul within African American communities over the past few centuries.

She surveys a wealth of primary sources from the early 1700s to the mid-twentieth century, including sermons, conversion stories, slave petitions, and autobiographies of ex-slaves, many of which introduce readers to previously unknown names in the history of New Testament interpretation. Along with their hermeneutical value, these texts also provide fresh documentation of Black religious life through wide swaths of American history. African American Readings of Paul promises to change the landscape of Pauline studies and fill an important gap in the rising field of reception history.

Lisa Marie Bowens, PhD, associate professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, earned a BS (cum laude), MSBE, and MLIS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, an MTS and ThM from Duke Divinity School, and a PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary. She is the first African American woman to earn tenure in Princeton Seminary’s Bible department. Her research interests include Paul and apocalyptic literature, Pauline anthropology, Pauline epistemology, discipleship in the gospels, African American Pauline Hermeneutics, and New Testament exegesis and interpretation. She is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Society of Pentecostal Studies, Society for the Study of Black Religion, American Academy of Religion, and a past Fund for Theological Education fellow. Her current projects include working as a contributor and co-editor with Scot McKnight and Joseph Modica on Preaching Romans From Here: Diverse Voices Engage Paul’s Most Famous Letter (forthcoming), contributor and co-editor with Dennis Edwards on Do Black Lives Matter?: How Christian Scriptures Speak to Black Empowerment, and two commentaries, one on 2 Corinthians and one on 1-2 Thessalonians.

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