Gospel of Freedom

By :  The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary Posted On Jan 29, 2014 / 5774 | Author Conversations: Between the Lines | Interreligious Social Justice
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Dr. Jonathan Rieder delves deeper than anyone before into Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” illuminating both its timeless message and crucial position in the history of civil rights. Dr. Rieder has interviewed Dr. King’s surviving colleagues, and located rare audiotapes of Dr. King speaking in the mass meetings of 1963. Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail gives us a startling perspective on the “Letter” and the man who wrote it: an angry prophet who chastised US whites, found solace in the faith and resilience of the slaves, and knew that moral appeal without struggle never brings justice.

“A sparkling reconsideration of the ‘Letter’ … Gospel of Freedom is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand the civil rights movement, King, and America itself.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Eloquent and prophetic. Rieder does for our uniquely American saint’s ‘Letter’ what St. Augustine did for the Letters of St. Paul. Part commentary, part homily, part exhortation to the faithful, Gospel of Freedom reminds us of ‘the fierce urgency of now.’”—Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies, Louis Stein director of the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies, and director of the Milstein Center for Interreligious Diaologue, JTS