Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




What does the Black Coptic Church have to offer the study of Black theology? This is the essential question this dissertation seeks to examine through a descriptive and constructive analysis. I submit the doctrinal formulation of black liberation theology is locatable within the Black Coptic Church, which was founded, and still boasts its largest membership in Chicago. This is the tradition that has informed my own faith background and has played a tremendous role in my earlier theological convictions. In fact, I was attracted to this tradition as a young child because it seemed to offer its adherents a sense of dignity and pride coupled with spiritual development. Thus, I do not approach this project from an academically distant perspective. On the contrary, I am a participant observer who believes that this faith tradition nuances present explanations of Black theology and promotes a theological program that makes it a viable candidate for the intersection of Black theology and black religion. This dissertation explores the intersection of Black theology academically conceived and liberation theology as the heart of the theological framework in the Black Coptic Church, founded by Prophet Cicero Patterson. Ira Reid briefly mentioned this Church in hisIn a Minor Key; beyond this, however, there has not been any major scholarly research produced in relation to this black Christian denomination. It is my claim that this Christian church not only exemplifies the practice of Black theology, but that its theological and ecclesiological foundations have something to offer the already pre-established understandings of Black liberation theology. Thus, this dissertation first offers a descriptive analysis of the history, theology, teachings, and practices of the Black Coptic Church that render this church unique and, second, offers an analytical construction of the ways in which this church furthers our understanding of black liberation theology.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.