The Forgotten Prophet



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 Ed Blum 

In recent years, historians of American religion have been paying more attention to notions of the prophetic. David Chappell's provocative Stone of Hope suggested that black prophetic religion (which was distinct from liberal concepts of progress) powered the civil rights movement, while John Stauffer and his friends have been re-envisioning the entire nineteenth century with a focus on prophetic figures and movements.

Now, from communications scholar Andre E. Johnson, the Dr. James L. Netters professor of Rhetoric & Religion and African American Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary (where David King is now a professor), has released The Forgotten Prophet: Bishop Henry McNeal Turner and the Black Prophetic Tradition. What I like best about Professor Johnson's book is how he provides various categories for prophetic speech and performance. He dissects different forms of prophetic posturing and analyzes how Bishop Turner deployed them in various circumstances.

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