In "Perspectives For a Study of African American Religion," Charles Long wrote of "three interrelated perspectives for the study of black religion": "Africa as historical reality and religious image," "the involuntary presence of the black community in America," and "the experience and symbol of God." I essay to show how Long's categories illumine a celebrated instance of African American biblical appropriation, the prophet's vision of dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14, as emblematic of the perspectives of symbolic African absence, involuntary American presence, and collective theological experience of the slaves and their descendents.

This content is only available via PDF.