Race and Rhyme: Rereading the New Testament

Eerdmans. Aug. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9780802867131. $39.99. REL
Using an interpretive process called associative hermeneutics, biblical scholar Sechrest (Columbia Theological Seminary; A Former Jew: Paul and the Dialectics of Race), whose academic focus deploys womanist and African American biblical interpretation, examines passages from the Christian New Testament and applies them to contemporary situations. She argues that the Bible’s timeless and transcendent principles must be separated out from the culturally influenced teachings. To do that, she surveys contemporary situations that “rhyme” with a biblical passage, meaning that it echoes with the text’s meaning, its situation, and the past. Sechrest offers a highly detailed explanation of the text in its original context and embarks on a well-thought-out interpretation of what the passage can teach about current issues. She utilizes her experiences as a Black woman to explain teachings about marginalized populations in New Testament times, and what they can tell us about the treatment of marginalized people today.
VERDICT Exhibiting a keen knowledge of the Bible and related scholarship, Sechrest’s work may be a tough read at times for those unversed in biblical scholarship, but it will appeal to those seeking fresh insights from the New Testament.
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