Prophetic Fragments by Cornel West
(Eerdmans, 1988, 294 pages)
This is a collection of essays, reviews, and other short pieces from Cornel West. The essays are broken up into three sections dealing with religion and politics, religion and culture, and religion and contemporary theology. West states that the aim of the book is “to examine and explore, delineate and demystify, counter and contest the widespread accommodation of American religion to the political and cultural status quo” (ix). Many of the pieces are dated, especially the reviews of theologians like Harvey Cox and Hans Frei. That said, West’s perspective on the symbiotic relationship between religion and cultural institutions remains insightful. I particularly enjoyed his analysis of the source of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s theology in “Martin Luther King, Jr.: Prophetic Christian as Organic Intellectual,” and the examination of West’s Anglophilia in “Not-Always-Perfidious Albion.” West’s unique voice makes every subject he covers entertaining, as well as interesting.