“The Theological Baldwin”

“The Theological Baldwin”

James Baldwin was the most theological of all American novelists. In his fiction, he masterfully brings in conversation theology and art, the sphere of the sacred and the sphere of the profane, God and his creation.

Baldwin could not keep God away from literature, and for him, African American literature presupposes a strong ethical system grounded on Baldwin’s thick theological worldview and cosmic humanist vision–whether he writes about America’s anti-black racism as its greatest theological heresy and America’s slavery as its apex of moral decadence, homosexual love and relations, Harlem’s prostitution and drugs culture, the problem of evil and black theodicy, the imperative of self sacrifice and collective commitment, and the need for Americans to create a new country based on the ethics of interdependence, love, and mutual reciprocity, etc.

“The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”
–James Baldwin, “The Fire Next Time”

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