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Book Cover for: Black Visions of the Holy Land: African American Christian Engagement with Israel and Palestine, Roger Baumann

Black Visions of the Holy Land: African American Christian Engagement with Israel and Palestine

Roger Baumann

Since at least the high point of the civil rights movement, African American Christianity has been widely recognized as a potent force for social change. Most attention to the political significance of Black churches, however, focuses on domestic protest and electoral politics. Yet some Black churches take a deep interest in the global issue of Israel and Palestine. Why would African American Christians get involved--and even take sides--in Palestine and Israel, and what does that reveal about the political significance of "the Black Church" today?

This book examines African American Christian involvement in Israel and Palestine to show how competing visions of "the Black Church" are changing through transnational political engagement. Considering cases ranging from African American Christian Zionists to Palestinian solidarity activists, Roger Baumann traces how Black religious politics transcend domestic arenas and enter global spaces. These cases, he argues, illuminate how the meaning of the ostensibly singular and unifying category of "the Black Church"--spanning its history, identity, culture, and mission--is deeply contested at every turn. Black Visions of the Holy Land offers new insights into how Black churches understand their political role and social significance; the ways race, religion, and politics both converge and diverge; and why the meaning of overlapping racial and religious identities shifts when moving from national to global contexts.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publish Date: Apr 30th, 2024
  • Pages: 328
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.21in - 6.14in - 0.73in - 1.11lb
  • EAN: 9780231198455
  • Categories: Sociology of ReligionCultural & Ethnic Studies - American - African American & BlReligion, Politics & State

About the Author

Roger Baumann is an assistant professor of sociology and director of peace and justice studies at Hope College.

Praise for this book

This is a well-written book on a relevant topic that offers new insights into the interplay of religion and politics. It focuses on a highly charged political issue that intersects with racial and religious group identities in a manner that is both respectful and unbiased.--Brandon C. Martinez, Providence College
Roger Baumann's deeply researched comparative study of African American Christians' engagements with Israel and Palestine sheds light on how religion, race, and collective memory intertwine as communities develop surprisingly divergent visions of transnational solidarity. Black Visions of the Holy Land not only deepens our understanding of the Black Church's political diversity and global reach but also offers timely insight into Americans' complex alliances in the Middle East today.--Ruth Braunstein, author of Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political Divide
With generational change, Black Christians are increasingly oriented toward justice in the Middle East. Roger Baumann places this shift in context, offering a textured and compelling account of the ways elite Black Christians had their judgment clouded and the ways grassroots solidarity networks are offering new visions of liberation. Along the way, Baumann invites readers to reimagine the Black Church itself.--Vincent W. Lloyd, author of Black Dignity: The Struggle Against Domination