On the Lived Theology Reading List: The New Abolition

The New Abolition: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Black Social Gospel, by Gary DorrienW. E. B. Du Bois and the Black Social Gospel

The end of the Civil War spurred many important beginnings, most notably the freedom of enslaved individuals and the founding of the black social gospel. The tradition would become an important sphere of religious and intellectual thought, later acting as the foundation of the civil rights movement. In The New Abolition, author Gary Dorrien traces the black social gospel from its emergence in the nineteenth century to its champion in the twentieth century, W. E. B. Du Bois. Winner of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Religion, the book offers a fresh take on both modern Christianity and the civil rights era by following one tradition through history that would influence the thought and activism of many civil rights pioneers to come.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“A magisterial treatment of a neglected stream of American religious history presented by one of this generation’s premier interpreters of modern religious thought performing at the top of his game.” —William Stacy Johnson, Princeton Theological Seminary

“This is classic Dorrien—beautifully written, cogent, and moving.  Ever the careful historian, ethicist, and astute cultural critic, Dorrien has penned another must read book for general readers and scholars alike.”—Emilie M. Townes, Vanderbilt Divinity School

“Gracefully written and carefully researched, Dorrien’s The New Abolition is an impressive recovery of W. E. B. Du Bois’s relationship to the black social gospel. Anyone seeking to understand the historic contours of race, religion, and social activism in the twentieth century absolutely must read this book.”—Juan M. Floyd-Thomas, Vanderbilt University

“Definitive . . . a capacious intellectual history . . . No reader will doubt the consummate professionalism of the scholarship, or the passion that Dorrien clearly has about the subject . . . with crisp narrative prose . . . gems of analysis and great personal stories from the often astonishing lives and deeply disturbing experiences of the protagonists.”—Paul Harvey, Christian Century

Find more information on this book here.

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