The Black Women's Spiritual Narrative as Sermon

Crystal J. Lucky

in The Experience of God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780823225187
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237135 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

The Black Women's Spiritual Narrative             as Sermon

Show Summary Details


This chapter develops themes struck by Kristine Culp while extending them in a new direction: the experience of black women preachers of nineteenth-century America. Like Culp, they were also prompted by an autobiographical passion, and their sermons presented a unique inflection of the more familiar Protestant spiritual narrative. We come to know the curves of this inflection by following one of these black preachers, Julia A. J. Foote. This chapter offers a reading of Foote's A Brand Plucked From the Fire to illustrate the way that orality functions on the printed page. Orality is a key component in the study of African American literature and culture. Nineteenth-century black women preachers created written sermons in the form of autobiography in order to claim the right to preach the gospel in a Western society that privileged both print and men. Foote's narrative reveals a woman who endures institutional ridicule and social isolation, but unfailingly pursues her right to work in ministry.

Keywords: Julia A. J. Foote; black women preachers; autobiography; sermons; spiritual narrative; orality; ministry; gospel; Kristine Culp

Chapter.  7672 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Fordham University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.