Curriculum Vitae

James Anthony Noel
Professor of American Religion
 H. Eugene Farlough/California Chair of African American Christianity

San Francisco Theological Seminary
105 Seminary Road
San Anselmo, CA 94960

108 Bolinas Avenue
San Anselmo, CA 94960
Tel.(415) 485-5360
1-415-847-6532 (cell)

Birthplace: Queens, New York
Birthdate: January 1, 1948
Marital Status: Married to Diana Nieves, June 22, 1982
Children: Michelle, Kaiya, Daniel, Amada




Graduate Theological Union

1975 M.Div. San Francisco Theological Seminary San Anselmo, CA
1969 B.A. University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA. Psychology.
1967 A.A. Morristown Junior College, Morristown, Tennessee

Academic Experience
2005-Present Professor of American Religion,
The H. Eugene Farlough Chair of African American Christianity,
San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, CA
1999-2005 Assistant Professor of American Religion,
San Francisco Theological Seminary,
San Anselmo, CA

Associate Professor of American Religion,
San Francisco Theological Seminary
San Anselmo, CA

Jan. 1988-1995 Assistant Professor of Racial/Ethnic and Urban Ministries, San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, CA.
1987-1988 Director, Continuing Education, San Francisco Theological Seminary

Professional Church Experience
2001-July 2007 part-time Interim Pastor, Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church, Richmond, CA
1996-1997 part-time Interim Pastor, New Liberation Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, CA
1976-1987 Pastor, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church Marin City, CA


Search for Zion: A Social Historical Study of African American Religious Life and Church Culture in Marin City, California from the Migration Period to the Present, 1942-1996 (The Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA; Spring 1999)

  1. Black Religion & the Imagination of Matter in the Atlantic World (Palgrave Press, Spring 2009).
  2. Co-editor with Matthew V. Johnson, The Passion of the Lord: African American Reflections (Augsburg/Fortress Press, 2005).
  1. Matthew V. Johnson, James A. Noel, Demetrius K. Williams, editors, Onesimus Our Brother: Reading Race, Religion and Slavery in Philemon (Fortress Press, Spring 2009); my chapter title: “Nat is Back: The Return of the Re/Oppressed.”
Book Chapters:
  1. “African American Art & Biblical Interpretation,” in True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary (Augsburg Fortress Press, 2006), Brian Blount, ed.,
  2. “The Post-Modern Location of Black Religion: Texts and Temporalities in Tension,” in Changing Conversations: Religious Reflection and Cultural Analysis (Routledge Press, 1996) Dwight N. Hopkins & Sheila Greeve Davaney, co-editors.
  1. "Religious Thought: African American” in The Encyclopedia of American Religion (CQ Press: 2010).
  2. "Theodicy, Slavery, Colonialism and the Political Economy of Modernity,” Reformed World, Vol 58 (1), March 2008.
  3. "African American Religion (An Overview),” Encyclopedia of Religion (2005), 2nd edition.
  4. "Richard Allen,” Encyclopedia of Religion (2005), 2nd edition.
  5. "Alexander Crummell,” Encyclopedia of Religion (2005), 2nd edition.
  6. "Marcus Garvey,” Encyclopedia of Religion (2005), 2nd edition.
  7. "Absalom Jones,” Encyclopedia of Religion (2005), 2nd edition.
  8. "George Liele,” Encyclopedia of Religion (2005), 2nd edition.
  9. "William Joseph Seymour,” Encyclopedia of Religion (2005), 2nd edition.
  10. "Bishop Henry McNeil Turner.” Encyclopedia of Religion (2005), 2nd edition.
  11. "Psychological Trauma, Christ’s Passion, and the African American Faith Tradition,” with Matthew V. Johnson in the Journal of Pastoral Psychology (March 2005).
  12. "Race, Religion and Rights," Stewardship of Public Life Newsletter (Presbyterian Church, USA-Washington DC Office) Fall, 1994.
  13. "Call and Response: The Meaning of the Moan and Signifiance of the Shout in Black Worship," Reformed Liturgy and Music, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, Spring, 1994.
  14. "Contemplation and Social Action in African-American Spirituality," Church and Society, Vol. 83, No. 2, November/December, 1992.
  15. "Memory and Hope: Toward a Hermeneutic of African-American Consciousness," Journal of Religious Thought, Summer-Fall, 1990, Vol 47, No. 1.
  16. "For Freedom Christ Has Set Us Free," Church and Society, May/June, 1989.
  17. "Contemplation and Social Action in Afro-American Spirituality," Pacific Theological Review, Fall 1988.
  18. "Macho Fool," Pacific Theological Review, Spring, 1987, Vol. XX, No. 3.
  1. Euthanasia of a Mission: African Church Autonomy in a Colonial Context (Westport: Praeger, 2002) in The Journal of Religion (v. 85, n. 1, January 2005)
  2. “The Notion of Black Culture Revisited” by Dwight Hopkins at the University of Chicago’s Marty Center's Religion and Culture Web Forum (January 5, 2004). )
  3. Terror and Triumph: The Nature of Black Religion (Minneopolis: Fortress Press, 2003) by Anthony B. Pinn in The Journal of Religion (v.84, n.1, 2004).


Courses Taught
  1. African American Social and Political Thought: Source Documents for Black Theology 1780-1980 (M.Div.).
  2. History, Theology & Ministry of the Black Church in the U.S.A. (M.Div.)
  3. Histories, Religions, and Cultures of the African Diaspora (M. Div).
  4. Modern World Christianity: the Reformation Period to the Present.
  5. Readings in Race, Religion & Law.
  6. Classical Social Theory for Black Theology (Doctorate of Ministry Seminar)
  7. Seminar on Charles H. Long & the History of Religion (GTU doctoral seminar).
  8. Modern Church Historiography (GTU doctoral seminar).
  9. Narrative (Black) Preaching (M. Div. elective).
  10. Cross Cultural Spirituality: J. Krishnamurti, Nicolai Berdyaev & Howard Thurman (M.Div. elective).
  11.  African American Biblical Interpretation and Hermeneutics (M. Div.)

Academic Programs

I initiated, helped advertise and recruit twelve students into the SFTS African American/Urban Ministries Concentration in D.Min. Program ( in the Fall/Spring 2006/08 semesters) in conjunction with the program Director.

    1. “Where Do We Go From Here? The Obama Phenomenon & the Political Aesthetics of Modernity” co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley African American Studies Department; Friday, February 20th, 2009. Participants: Hon Willie Brown; Dr. Michael D. Harris (Emory University); Dr. Charles Henry (UC Berkeley); Dr. Matthew V. Johnson (National Executive Director, Every Church A Peace Church)
    2. “Tragic Vision: The Aesthetic Dimension of American Religious Consciousness” at SFTS, April 20-22, 2008. Participants: Dr. David Carrasco (Harvard Divinity School); Dr. Matthew V. Johnson; Dr. Charles H. Long (Professor Emeritus, UC Santa Barbara); Dr. Marcia Robinson (Syracuse University); Dr. Carole Lynn Stewart (University of Calgary); Dr. Margaret B. Wilkerson (Professor Emeritus, African American Studies, UC Berkeley).
    3. “Preaching for Social Change and Personal Transformation;” October 2005 at Allen Temple Baptist Church with Dr. Charles H. Long and Rev. Dr. Matthew V. Johnson, Jr.

PAPERS/WORKSHOPS (abbreviated)
    1. Lecture: “Obama, Race and Religion in the US,” June 15th, 2009, Hong Kong.
    2. Lectures: “Paul’s Letter to Philemon as Key to His Notion of Justification in Galatians and Romans” June 12-15, 2009, Clergy Continuing Education Retreat; Soeul, Korea.
    3. Workshop: “African American Biblical Interpretation” West Coast Black Presbyterian Pastors Clergy Empowerment Workshop; Los Angeles, CA October 2008 with Dr. Demetrius K. Williams.
    4. Plenary speaker, “History, Hermeneutics, and Homiletics,” African American Preachers Institute, Los Angeles, (February, 25-28, 2005).
    5. April 7-9, 2005. “Art and Social Change.” Iliff School of Theology, Denver, Co.
    6. Paper: “W. E. B. DuBois and the Construction of the ‘Folk’” at the Fourth Annual Consultation on Religion and Modernity at the University of Main at Farmington,            Main (June 10-12, 2004).
    7. Workshop, “African American Consciousness and Counseling Interventions,” The Marin Treatment Center, San Rafael, Ca.(October 2004.
    8. All day workshop leader, “Theology for Urban Ministry” Whitworth College Weyerhauser Center Certificate In Urban Ministry, Spokane, WA. (October 16 & November 13,             2004.
    9. Plenary speaker, “Critical Ecclessiology and the Crisis of the Church” Western National Leadership Training Event, Jackson Hole, WY (October, 6-9, 2004).
    10. Workshop leader, “African American History and Biblical Interpretation” African American Pastors Institute, Los Angeles (October 20-22, 2004).
    11. Preacher, Presbyterian Pastoral Care Network, SFTS, San Anselmo, CA. (October, 25-27,  2004).
    12. Guest Lecturer, “Globalization and the African Diaspora” in Globalization course taught by Lewis Mudge at the GTU, Berkeley, CA (November 29 & December 6, 2004).

Art Exhibits
  • 2008 Exhibit at the Graduate Theological Union’s African American History Celebration at the  Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Ca.

  • 2006 Worship Service at New Liberation Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, CA.
  • 2005 Exhibit at Iliff School of Theology and lecture ‘African American Art and Social Change” October 2005.
  • 2002 Invitational Group Show, Many Hands, Many Lands Gallery, Oakland, CA.
  • 1994 National Association of Pan-African Seminarians Conference, SFTS, Alexander Hall, San Anselmo, CA, March.
  • 1992 Graduate Theological Union Board Room, Panel on Slave Narrative Theology, October.
  • 1990 Black History Celebration, SFTS, Alexander Hall, San Anselmo, CA, February.
  • 1989 Invitational Group Show, Ohana Cultural Center, Oakland, CA, August.
  • 1988 Black History Celebration, SFTS, Alexander Hall, San Anselmo, CA, February.
  • 1986 Marin City Community-wide Black History Celebration, Manzanita Center, Marin City, CA, February.
Plays & Performances
  • 2008 "The Black Experience in Poetry and Song." group Performance at Black Presbyterian Caucus Banquet preceding The Installation of Dr. Brian Blount as President of Union Theological Seminary.
  • 2006 “The Black Experience in Poetry and Song." World Council of Churches Consultation on the British Abolition of the Slave Trade, Jamaica, W.I.
  • 1998 "The Black Experience in Poetry and Song." Group Performance at SFTS, Stewart Chapel, San Anselmo, CA, February. 1998.
  • 1991 "The Black Experience in Poetry and Song." Solo Performance at First Presbyterian Church, Oakland, CA, February. 1991.
  • Chair, Racial/Ethnic Ministries Committee of the Golden Gate Mission Area and the Redwood Presbytery.
  • Part-time staff for Racial/Ethnic Ministries at the Redwood Presbytery.
  • A founder of the Marin City Community Development Corporation.
  • Center for Families in Transition, Board Member.
  • Presbyterian Health Education & Welfare Association. (Immediate past President and ex-officio member.)
  • Ministry of Light, Marin County, CA, Board Member.
  • President, West Coast Northern Region, National Black Presbyterian Caucus.
  • Chair, Racial/Ethnic Ministries Committee of the Golden Gate Mission Area and the Redwood Presbytery.