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Open Friendship in a Closed SocietyMission Mississippi and a Theology of Friendship$
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Peter Slade

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372625.001.0001

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Open and Closed

Open and Closed

(p.9) 2 Open and Closed
Open Friendship in a Closed Society

Peter Slade (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter establishes both the theological lens of open friendship and the object of scrutiny—Mississippi's closed society. Through the life and work of the German theologian Jürgen Moltmann, the chapter explores the powerful idea of Jesus' radical open friendship, which challenges the closed and exclusive systems of privilege and power found in closed societies and churches. Moltmann's description of closed churches and closed societies fits remarkably well with the American historian James Silver's description of 1960s Mississippi as the Closed Society. The second half of the chapter—through Silver's life and work at Ole Miss—explores this closed society that shaped the lives of the people who would, thirty years after Silver's work, found Mission Mississippi.

Keywords:   Mississippi, Closed Society, Moltmann, James Silver, Ole Miss, friendship, church

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