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Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 32, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2012

Karen V. Guth
Pages 75-92
DOI: 10.1353/sce.2012.0018

Reconstructing Nonviolence
The Political Theology of Martin Luther King Jr. after Feminism and Womanism

SCHOLARS OFTEN VIEW MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO political theology in the context of his philosophy of nonviolence. Drawing on feminist and womanist thought, I reconstruct King's theopolitical practice to construe nonviolence more broadly as including any "agapic activity" that forms and sustains community. In doing so, I uncover in King's thought a conception of agape that resonates with feminist emphasis on the relational and community-oriented nature of love, and I draw on womanist thought to highlight the role of creativity, not solely love or justice, to King's ethical thinking. Both emphases suggest a vision of churches as communities of creativity with community-creating practices at the heart of their political roles.

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