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Oxford University names first ever professor of Black Theology

by Premier Journalist
anthony reddie.jpg - Banner image
University of Oxford

Professor Anthony G Reddie has become Oxford University's first ever Professor of Black Theology.

A lifelong Methodist, the theologian has written extensively on topics encompassing black theology, as well as issues related to justice, race, and poverty.

Black Theology was founded during the trans-Atlantic slave trade and first written about by theologian James Cone in 1969.

Professor Reddie told Premier that he still can't quite believe the news.

"It feels very strange and very bizarre. It hasn't quite settled in yet. So I still find myself looking at the letter just to check that I didn't misread it. So yes, it does say that I've been appointed. I'm not imagining this weird thing."

Born in Bradford, Reddie came into contact with Theology by accident. During a lunch break at Birmingham University, he took shelter in a bookshop, where he picked up James Cone's 1969's book "Black Theology".

Speaking about how Black Theology finds its roots amongst 17th Century slaves, who found liberation in the hope of the gospel of Jesus, he said: "Part of the process of their exploitation and oppression was a very skewed and racist form of Christianity was forced on them. So a version of Christianity that was about forcing them to become effectively good slaves. So they would take out of context, some of the teachings of St Paul, for example, where he talks about slaves obey your masters."

"The genius, I think of God, and the Holy Spirit, working through these disempowered people was that that's not what they heard what there was a voice of liberation and sovereign power. That the same God that had freed the Hebrew slaves in Egypt was the same God that would free them."

The Professor says he is the first person to bring Black Theology into Oxford University, "but in a fairly modest kind of small way". He hopes that his new role will give him opportunity to expand that work.

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