Black Theology

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
COURSE UNIT 369 - 8369


The unit explores the emergence of Black Theology in the latter part of the twentieth century.  It includes an exploration of biblical and theological themes emerging from the field, and encourages students to develop their own approach to faith and practice, building on a theology of personal experience, by reflecting on how Black Theology has empowered the articulation of a significant voice into theological reflection in the West.  Specific practical and theological issues are addressed, including criticisms and responses to Black Theology, and its implications for action at the local level.  The themes of oppression including slavery, racism, colonialism and poverty provide the context for understanding its radical, politicised and intentionally transformative trajectory.


By engaging with the work of foundational thinkers in the United States and more recent contributions in the UK this unit aims to deepen students’ understanding of their contemporary contexts and to explore the formulation of contextual theologies from different perspectives.


Category of outcome

By the end of this unit students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

·         Articulate an understanding of Black Theology in its various contexts, including its origins and methodologies

·         Summarise the various critiques that have been made of Black Theology.

Intellectual skills

·         Critically understand the contribution of colour and ethnicity to theological dialogue and construction, and the development of a complementary biblical hermeneutic

·         Develop their own response to Black Theology and the implications of practical engagement with the issues raised

Practical skills

·         Demonstrate skills in multi-cultural understanding, interpretation and communication

·         demonstrate skills in analysing the use of power and empowerment

Transferable skills and personal qualities

·         Reflect sensitively upon their personal experience and practice

·         empowering the voice of minorities and the marginalised


Assessment task


Weighting within unit




1500 words




·         369:

·         8369:

An interactive group task

An essay



3000 words

2000 words





pass / fail*

·         369:

·         8369:

An essay

An essay

and a learning journal*


* Distance learning students are required to pass this element. So long as this element has been passed, they will be eligible for compensation if the overall unit mark is within the compensation zone (30-39%), and the compensatable credit allowance as set out in the Degree Regulations has not been exceeded.




Available on which programme(s)?

BA in Theology

Available as Free Choice (UG) or to other programmes (PG)?



1.    Contextual theology (Biography as theology - personal sources)

2.    Birth of a theological movement: James Cone and Classic Black Theology

3.    Biblical and theological themes

4.    Caribbean Theology

5.    Black Theology and Womanist Theology

6.    African experience – Black Africa and Apartheid

7.    Black Theology in Britain: post-colonialism, migration and diaspora

8.    Non-Christian perspectives

9.    Black Theology and education

10.  Under scrutiny – critical and dissenting voices

11.  Ministry and mission trajectories

Teaching method

Interactive lectures and seminars


Additional eLearning content




Date of approval (for office use)

Unit materials are available at Spurgeon’s Online to support student learning

Information updated on

·         written feedback within 15 working days from submission

·         additional one-to-one feedback by appointment

Indicative reading

Beckford, Robert, Dread and Pentecostal: A Political Theology for the Black Church in Britain (London: SPCK, 2000)

Bradley, Anthony B., Liberating Black Theology: The Bible and the Black Experience (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2010)

Bradley, Anthony B., Black Scholars in White Space (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2015)

Cone, James H., A Black Theology of Liberation 2nd edn (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1988)

Gregory, Howard (ed.), Caribbean Theology. Preparing for the Challenges Ahead (Kingston, Jamaica: Canoe Press, University of the West Indies, 1997)

Hopkins, Dwight N., and Edward P. Antonio (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Black Theology. Cambridge Companions to Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Hopkins, Dwight N., Heart and Head: Black Theology, Past, Present and Future (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002)

Hopkins, Dwight N., Introducing Black Theology of Liberation (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1999)

Jagessar, Michael N., and Anthony G. Reddie (eds), Postcolonial Black British Theology (Peterborough: Epworth Press, 2006)

Jagessar, Michael N., and Anthony G. Reddie (eds), Black Theology in Britain: A Reader. Cross Cultural Theologies (London: Equinox, 2007)

Kapolyo, Joe M., The Human Condition: Christian Perspectives Through African Eyes. (Leicester: IVP, 2005)

Kee, Alistair, The Rise and Demise of Black Theology enlarged edn (London: SCM, 2008)

Mitchem, S.Y., Introducing Womanist Theology (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2002)

Reddie, Anthony G., Black Theology (London: SCM, 2012)

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Black Theology

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 369 - 8369





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