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ERIC Number: EJ1194346
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1938-9809
Alice Walker's Jesus: A Womanist Paradox
King, Debra Walker
Forum on Public Policy Online, v2018 n1 2018
This paper addresses the tensions animating Alice Walker's fame and infamy as it pertains to Christianity and Black feminists who identify as womanists--a term originated by Walker and adopted by Black Feminist Theologians almost immediately. It asks: who is God in the womanist discourse of Alice Walker? The essay claims Walker's oeuvre offers a progression of thought wherein her womanist philosophy moves from discussions that question African Americans' commitment to the Christian God into descriptions of a singular and definitive God force existing outside that discourse. The author's contemplations begin with gentle questioning of the creator's gender in "The Color Purple" and an allusion to God in her 1983 definition of womanism, which claims a womanist "Loves the Spirit." The relationship of "The Spirit" to the Christian God becomes more focused and potentially more controversial in "The Temple of My Familiar" (1989) while Walker's womanist magnum opus, "Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart" (2004), engages deft references to not only Christianity but also Buddhism as well as Gnosticism and a commitment to the earth as God, the Grandmother Creator. In this last text, humanity's savior doffs the robes of masculinity to don the red clay of Grandmother Earth and self-salvation. This brief essay examines what the spiritual references in these three texts mean for Christian women who herald Alice Walker as Elder, particularly Black Christian theologians who were the first to embrace womanist thought and position themselves within its epistemological hermeneutic frame. Engaging Walker's novels and the work of one of the first Black womanist theologians, Jacquelyn Grant, as well as womanist, cultural critic Layli Maparyan I explore Walker's womanism as organic philosophy and its God as a Christian, womanist theologian's paradox--a paradox resolved by gazing through the lens of a few key moments within women's Christology during the time Black womanist theologians adopted the term.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A