Reverend Dr. James Hal Cone has unquestionably been a key architect in defining Black liberation theology. Trained in the Western theological tradition at Garrett Theological Seminary, Cone became an expert on the theology of Twentieth-century Swiss-German theologian Karl Barth. Cone’s study of Barth led to his 1965 doctoral dissertation, “The Doctrine of Man in the Theology of Karl Barth,” where he critically examined Barth’s Epistle to the Romans
and Church Dogmatics
. His contemporaries and more recent African American theologians and religious scholars have questioned the extent to which Karl Barth’s ideas shaped Cone’s Black theology. The purpose of this brief commentary is to review the major ideas in “The Doctrine of Man” and Black Theology and Black Power
, his first book, to explore which theological concepts Cone borrows from Barth, if any, and how Cone utilizes them within his articulation of a Black theological anthropology and Black liberation theology.
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