Distinctive, Powerful, Transformational
This book collects the presentations of twelve leading Africana scholars who participated in the groundbreaking #Black Scholars Matter virtual symposium held in August 2020 that was organized by the Society of Biblical Literature’s Black Scholars Matter Task Force in coordination with the SBL’s Committee on Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession. These scholars share their perspectives on biblical studies and their experiences in the discipline on a range of topics, including blatant and subtle forms of bias and racism; mentoring; lessons of struggle, sacrifice, and lack of support; reflections on the obstacles of national tragedies, geographical locations, and academic disciplines; and the challenges of creating a more welcoming environment for the next generation of Black biblical scholars. Eight additional contributors and stakeholders that have administrative and decision-making responsibilities within theological and other settings address the need for institutional and personal accountability. Contributors include Efraín Agosto, Cheryl B. Anderson, Randall C. Bailey, Gay L. Byron, Ronald Charles, Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, Steed Vernyl Davidson, Sharon Watson Fluker, John F. Kutsko, Vanessa Lovelace, Madipoane Masenya (Ngwan’a Mphahlele), Raj Nadella, Hugh R. Page Jr., Adele Reinhartz, Kimberly D. Russaw, Abraham Smith, Shively T. J. Smith, Mai-Anh Le Tran, Renita J. Weems, and Vincent L. Wimbush.
Gay L. Byron is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, DC. She is the author of Symbolic Blackness and Ethnic Difference in Early Christian Literature (2002) and coeditor with Vanessa Lovelace of Womanist Interpretations of the Bible: Expanding the Discourse (2016). She is also an ordained minister of the Word and Sacrament (Teaching Elder) in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Hugh R. Page Jr. is Professor of Theology and Africana Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he also serves as Vice President for Institutional Transformation and Advisor to the President. He is the general editor—with associate editors Randall C. Bailey, Valerie Bridgeman, Stacy Davis, Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Madipoane Masenya (Ngwan’a Mphahlele), Nathaniel Samuel Murrell, and Rodney S. Sadler, Jr.—of The Africana Bible (2010); co-editor (with Gale A. Yee and Matthew J. M. Coomber) of The Fortress Commentary on the Bible: the Old Testament and Apocrypha (2014), and author of Israel’s Poetry of Resistance: Africana Perspectives on Early Hebrew Verse (2013). He is also a priest in The Episcopal Church.