On the Lived Theology Reading List: To Shape a New World

To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Tommie Shelby and Brandon M. TerryEssays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, this new collection offers a reappraisal of King’s political thought and legacy. Of particular contemporary relevance is the consideration of King’s views on nonviolence and the strategies that made it an effective force for social change. With contributions from a number of distinguished scholars including Cornell West, Martha Nussbaum, Danielle Allen, Laurie Balfour, and many others, the book makes a strong argument for the originality of King’s political vision.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“[A] robust and wide-ranging collection… The book as a whole displays the pliability and dynamism of King’s thought, applying it to circumstances both recent (Barack Obama’s presidency) and far in the past (the practice of slavery in 18th- and 19th-century America). Throughout, King’s voice is placed within a community of philosophers… As the nation approaches the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination, this work demonstrates, for anyone who needs convincing, the continued and vital importance of his thinking.”—Publisher’s Weekly

King’s theology, philosophy, and nonviolent prophetic engagement are needed now more than any time since his death. In his last speech, Dr. King said that when it comes to the struggle for love and justice, ‘nothing would be more tragic than for us to turn back now.’ We must embrace his challenge in this moment and commit to go forward together, not one step back.”—Rev Dr. William Jay Barber II

To Shape a New World is a milestone in the study of Martin Luther King, Jr., essentially a sanctified figure in American life, whose actual ideas are rarely interrogated in any depth, either in the public realm or in academic circles. What makes this volume particularly striking is the exceptionally high quality of the essays, which are analytically rigorous, impressively researched, and often profoundly original. They highlight the limits of common narratives about King and the civil rights movement, showing the shifts in his own thinking and the unconventional nature of many of his arguments. This is a path-breaking book.”—Aziz Rana, Cornell University

For more information on the publication, click here.

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