The first of the three volumes covers religion from the preliterary world through around AD 600; the second, the post-classical era from 600 to 1450; and the third, the modern era from 1450 to the present. Each volume begins with a substantive introduction that discusses the history of world religions during the period covered by the volume. The chronologically ordered entries overview each event, place it in historical context, and identify the reasons for its enduring significance.
Florin Curta is professor of medieval history and archaeology at the University of Florida, Gainesville.
Andrew Holt is associate professor of history at Florida State College at Jacksonville. His previous books include Competing Voices from the Crusades: Fighting Words.
"They put him to death by hanging him on a tree." Acts 10:39
The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk. Both the cross and the lynching tree represent the worst in human beings and at the same time a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning. While the lynching tree symbolized white power and "black death," the cross symbolizes divine power and "black life" God overcoming the power of sin and death. For African Americans, the image of Jesus, hung on a tree to die, powerfully grounded their faith that God was with them, even in the suffering of the lynching era.
In a work that spans social history, theology, and cultural studies, Cone explores the message of the spirituals and the power of the blues; the passion and of Emmet Till and the engaged vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.; he invokes the spirits of Billie Holliday and Langston Hughes, Fannie Lou Hamer and Ida B. Well, and the witness of black artists, writers, preachers, and fighters for justice. And he remembers the victims, especially the 5,000 who perished during the lynching period. Through their witness he contemplates the greatest challenge of any Christian theology to explain how life can be made meaningful in the face of death and injustice.