VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 1/4/22)—In “The Polished King: Living Words of Martin Luther King Jr.,” Joseph Evans analyzes how King’s preaching brought the “living word” and various rhetorical techniques together in ways that helped people understand and be given hope by his messages.
Exploring the complicated relationship between King and novelist James Baldwin—two of the most important writers, thinkers and activists of the 1950s and ’60s—the author observes that Baldwin considered King to be a “polished preacher.”
The book weaves Baldwin’s poetic and fiery words, passion for justice and admiration of King’s oration into a detailed, thought-provoking examination of the rhythm of determination and transformative power in King’s speaking, writing and faith.
It reveals the people and practices within the Black Baptist church and within Black communities whose guidance and cultural norms helped shape and mold King into the person he eventually became.
Examining King’s use of language as “living metaphors” that reveal his theological worldview, it asserts that King employed symbolism to make people aware of God’s everlasting presence and power.
One of the core questions preachers live with concerns language,” says Donyelle C. McCray, associate professor of Homiletics on Term, Yale Divinity School. “How does one find language that adequately distills the human condition? How do we find metaphors that prompt ethical action and manifest God’s vision for justice? Professor Joseph Evans offers crucial insights in this volume on Martin Luther King Jr.’s preaching. This book is a treasure for all who want to examine King’s preaching and draw on his remarkable approach today.”
Joseph Evans is dean of the Morehouse School of Religion and author of two other Judson Press titles, “The Art of Eloquence: The Sacred Rhetoric of Gardner C. Taylor” (2020) and “Reconciliation and Reparation: Preaching Economic Justice” (2018). He also published “Lifting the Veil Over Eurocentrism: The Du Boisian Hermeneutic of Double Consciousness” (Africa World Press, 2014). In addition, he has written numerous essays for the American Baptist Quarterly.
Taylor described Evans as one of the “brilliant preachers of his generation,” and Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker said, “Dr. Evans is a master craftsman who is extremely adept in his understanding of how to prepare and deliver the prophetic sermon.”
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