Download PDF by George Shulman: American Prophecy: Race and Redemption in American Political

By George Shulman

ISBN-10: 0816630747

ISBN-13: 9780816630745

ISBN-10: 0816666180

ISBN-13: 9780816666188

Prophecy is the basic idiom of yankee politics—a biblical rhetoric approximately redeeming the crimes, pain, and promise of a unique humans. but American prophecy and its nice practitioners—from Frederick Douglass and Henry Thoreau to Martin Luther King, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison—are hardly ever addressed, not to mention analyzed, by way of political theorists. This paradox is on the center of yankee Prophecy, a piece within which George Shulman unpacks and reviews the political that means of yankee prophetic rhetoric. within the face of spiritual fundamentalisms that affiliate prophecy and redemption with dogmatism and domination, American Prophecy reveals connections among prophetic language and democratic politics, really racial politics. Exploring how American critics of white supremacy have many times remodeled biblical prophecy, Shulman demonstrates how those writers and thinkers have remodeled prophecy right into a political language and given redemption a political which means. to check how antiracism is associated with prophecy as a vernacular idiom is to reconsider political theology, recast democratic idea, and think again the bearing of faith on American political tradition. nonetheless, prophetic language isn't continuously liberatory, and American Prophecy continues a severe dispassion a couple of rhetoric that's either everyday and not easy.

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But if they thereby rupture a consensus, do they answer the question of authority in ways that enable politics? If authority is the capacity of an institution, idea, or person to elicit our assent, as John Schaar argues, the image of announcing messengers suggests despotic authority: As an absolute authority entitled to unalloyed obedience, God’s law of laws or word is a command to obey. Politics seems at once framed and radically displaced by divinely centered notions of law or truth: Prophets question what we assent (or give authority) to, but they close down the space of contest if they invoke extrapolitical authority dictating our fate or announcing one right way against a plurality of alternatives.

18 Their splitting of biblical prophecy, and their engagement with redemption, is paralleled by more recent secularizers. To speak too simply again, Norman O. Brown uses Baruch Spinoza to depict a historical sequence in which prophetic revelation is announced as law, internalized by later prophets as conscience, translated by Jesus into love, and cast by philosophers as the natural light of reason in each and all. By interpreting universal community as “love’s body,” Brown rejects Strauss’s reduction of prophecy to law and rejects Voegelin’s split of spirit and word from flesh and history, to fashion a “Dionysian Christianity” that secularizes redemption.

To whom is justice due? Like him, too, they answer by exemplary action, not doctrine. But their mode of speech is not by the better argument but by the testimony and narrative of one who bears witness. Reflection is framed not by seeking to define “justice” as such but by asking, Are you upholding your covenant (with your God and each other) to live in a certain way? Prophets make no “moral” claim to a rule or law for all people at all times but instead tell a story of infidelity to a founding covenant that once redeemed this people from Egypt.

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American Prophecy: Race and Redemption in American Political Culture by George Shulman

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