Being Human

Race, Culture, and Religion

By Dwight N. Hopkins
(Augsburg Fortress Publishing, Paperback, 9780800637576, 221pp.)

Publication Date: September 2005

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Description
Whether concerned with health, law, ethics, social relations, or relationship with God, religious thought today runs squarely into the question: what does it mean to be human? Dwight Hopkins, whose important work in Black Theology has mediated classic theological concerns through the prism of African American culture, here offers a fresh take on theological anthropology. Rather than defining "the human" as one eternal or inviolable essence, however, Hopkins looks to the multiple and conflicting notions of the human in contemporary thought, and particularly three key variables: culture, self, and race. What in a traditional framework were seen as "accidents" now take center stage, and Hopkins's critical reframing of these concepts firmly locates human endeavor, development, transcendence, and liberation in the particular messiness of struggle and strife. This major work from a leading black theologian frames the debate about being human in a way that opens rather than closes our self-questioning.

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