The Bible and/as the Lynching Tree: A South African Tribute to James H. Cone

Gerald West


In this tribute to James H. Cone I reflect on his biblical-theological hermeneutics, drawing on work that spans nearly fifty years, but concentrating on his most recent book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree. I identify in Cone’s work radical hermeneutics of reception, which I then bring into dialogue with Itumeleng Mosala’s radical hermeneutic of production. This dialogue, I argue, offers us significant biblical-theological capacities for a post-apartheid biblical hermeneutics of decolonisation, with specific reference to South Africa’s land expropriation debate.


Lynching tree, decolonisation, Hermeneutic of Reception, Hermeneutic of Production, Land

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