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Black Church Studies  

A guide to resources for those interested in African-American religions, with special attention to the Black Church Studies program and certificate at the Candler School of Theology.
Last Updated: Jan 28, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Getting Started Print Page

About this Guide

About this Guide:

  • Candler’s Program of Black Church Studies prepares men and women to provide leadership in black and multiracial churches and educates the entire Candler community about black church traditions. The program also explores religious traditions among peoples of African descent across Africa and the diaspora.
  • This guide provides resources to support the Black Church Studies program.
  • The Getting Started page provides general search tips, as well as links to online resources, journal titles, and reference works.
  • Subsequent pages are devoted to the four general areas of study that comprise the Candler curriculum. They provide primary authors and representative texts for religious traditions in Africa and in the diaspora

Links to Resources:

  • Book titles link to Emory's DiscoverE catalog
  • Book covers link to Amazon
  • Periodical titles link to online access page or to DiscoverE

Reference Resources

Cover Art
Encyclopedia of African and African American Religions - Stephen D. Glazier
Call Number: THEOLOGY REF. BL2462.5 .E53 2000
ISBN: 0415922453
This resource focuses on anthropological perspectives on religious movements, both within Africa, the African diaspora, the combination of African and other world religions and American religious movements. It focuses on both the beliefs of particular groups, as well as their social and cultural impact. Each entry includes a bibliography for further research.

Encyclopedia of African American Religions - Larry G. Murphy, J. Gordon Melton, and Gary L. Ward, eds.
Call Number: THEOLOGY REF. BR563 .N4 E53 1993
ISBN: 0815305001
This resource focuses primarily on individuals and organizations. It is not a good resource for theological ideas, but can be helpful in learning more about organizations and people involved in those organizations.

African American religious cultures - Anthony B. Pinn
Call Number: THEOLOGY REF .BL2500 .A37 2009
ISBN: 1576074701
This resource focuses on African American traditions and includes encyclopedic entries on African American involvement in Christian denominations and African religious movements, as well as scholarly essays on such topics as African American religion’s relationship to literature, education, and health. Brief biographies of important figures in given traditions are highlighted, which can provide a good starting point for research.


LC Call Numbers and Subject Headings

When browsing the shelves, books on African Americans and Christianity can be found in BR563. N4. Books on Black Theology can be found in BT82.7 and on Womanist Theology in BT83.9. However, many works can also be found outside of these call number ranges as works are often also cataloged by the topics of biblical studies, theology, ethics or worship they address. 

Here are some subject searches that will provide results in Black Church Studies:

Bible Black Interpretations

African Americans -- Religion

Black theology

Womanist theology

Race relations - -Religious aspects

Sermons, American -- African American authors

Church work with African Americans

African Americans - -Pastoral counseling of

Once you have done a search, discoverE will suggest related new searches for both authors and subjects.  To check a broader range of materials, do a subject search in WorldCat.

Here are some series searches that will provide results in Black Church Studies:

African American religious thought and life  (as series)

Bishop Henry McNeal Turner studies in North American Black religion (as series)

Black religion, womanist thought, social justice (as series)

History of African-American religions (as series)


Classic Texts in Black Church Studies

Cover Art
Jesus and the Disinherited - Howard Thurman
Call Number: THEOLOGY BS2417 .S7 T5 1996
ISBN: 0807010294

Cover Art
The Souls of Black Folk - Brent Hayes Edwards (Editor)
Call Number: GENERAL E185.6 .D797 2007
ISBN: 9780192806789
Publication Date: 2007-05-01
A foundational text on African American religious life. This is the most recent edition, but there are several others available. Search in discoverE or Euclid to find other editions.

Cover Art
A Black Theology of Liberation - James H. Cone
Call Number: THEOLOGY BT82.7 .C666 1990
ISBN: 0883446855

Cover Art
Afro-American Religious History: A Documentary Witness - Milton C. Sernett
Call Number: THEOLOGY BR563 .N4 A359 1999
ISBN: 0822324261

Cover Art
Down by the Riverside - Larry G. Brown, ed.
Call Number: THEOLOGY BR563 .N4 D69 2000
ISBN: 0814755801

Search Google Scholar for Black Church Studies

Remember to place multi-word phrases like "black liberation theology" in quotes to keep them together in the search.  If you have LibX installed, you will see an Emory shield for every item available locally.



Black Theology
ISBN: 1476-9948
Electronic access is available from 2002-past 3 months through ATLA Religion. Issues from 1998-present are available through Academic Search Complete.

Journal of Religion in Africa
ISBN: 0022-4200
Available full-text from 1999 (with a 12-month delay) from Ebsco, this journal includes articles about religious traditions throughout Africa from a variety of perspectives.

African American Pulpit
ISBN: 1094-0111

A.M.E. Christian Recorder



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