A journal of academic theology

Andrew L. Prevot

Research Article

Race, Gender, and Christian Mysticism: The Life of Zilpha Elaw

Drawing on the spiritual autobiography of the nineteenth-century Black female preacher Zilpha Elaw, this article argues that it should be included in the canon of Christian mystical texts because it sheds light on questions about race and gender relevant to current conflicts in both church and society. Elaw’s story demonstrates that while the grace of divine union promotes social transformation, it may not immediately free one from structures of sin. Mystical spirituality requires ongoing critical discernment.

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