New Horizons


James Cone is widely respected as the ‘Father of Black Theology’ and one of the most important theologians of the twentieth century. Yet at the same time, he is in many circles too quickly dismissed as a dangerous theological radical. This article presents two hermeneutical strategies that are designed to help Catholic readers better appreciate Cone’s agenda. As a ‘Subject of Tradition,’ some of Cone’s most challenging theological positions are shown to be the result of Cone actively and creatively wrestling with existing theological traditions. As a ‘True Reformer,’ Cone’s career is interpreted in light of Yves Congar’s criteria for authentic reform in the church. James Cone remains a challenging theologian, but these strategies can be utilized to encourage deeper engagement with Cone in pastoral settings.



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