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Dr. James H. Cone, founder of black liberation theology, elected to the American Acade …

MARYKNOLL, N.Y. – James H. Cone, Bill and Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, New York City, has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Cone is one of ten inductees in Philosophy and Religious Studies. The list of 177 new Fellows includes Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; journalist, writer, and educator Ta-Nehisi Coates; actor Tom Hanks; and President Barack Obama.

An ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Dr. Cone received a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary and later earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Author of over 150 articles and 12 books, including the groundbreaking A Black Theology of Liberation first published in 1970, Dr. Cone has taught and lectured around the world. He holds thirteen honorary degrees, including an honoris causa from the Institut Protestant de Théologie in Paris, France. Among his numerous awards are the American Black Achievement Award in religion from Ebony magazine and the Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion.

This year Dr. Cone received the 2018 Grawemeyer Award for Religion from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary for the The Cross and the Lynching Tree which “passionately conjoins the provocative images of the first century cross and the twentieth-century lynching tree.” As he writes, “Both are symbols of the death of the innocent, mob hysteria, humiliation, and terror. They both also reveal a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning and demonstrate that God can transform ugliness into beauty, into God’s liberating presence.” His theological memoir, Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody, will be published this October by Orbis.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the nation’s older learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from academia, business, and government. Among the 4,900 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members are more than 200 Nobel laureates and 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

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The Cross and the Lynching Tree
James H. Cone
ISBN 978-1-62698-005-1 220pp, softcover $25.00

Founded in 1970, Orbis Books publishes works that enlighten the mind, nourish the spirit, and challenge the conscience. Orbis seeks to explore the global dimensions of Christian faith and mission, to invite dialogue with diverse cultures and religious traditions, and to serve the cause of reconciliation and peace. Learn more at