Author.

Professor.

Public Theologian.

Esau McCaulley, PhD is an author and The Jonathan Blanchard Associate Professor of New Testament and Public Theology at Wheaton College. His writing and speaking focus on New Testament Exegesis, African American Biblical Interpretation, and Public Theology. He has authored numerous books including, Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope, which won numerous awards including Christianity Today’s Book of the Year. Esau also served as the editor of New Testament in Color: A Multi-Ethnic Commentary on the New Testament.

On the popular level, Esau’s recent memoir, How Far to the Promised Land, was named by Amazon as a top five non-fiction book of 2023. He has also penned works for children, including Josey Johnson’s Hair and the Holy Spirit and Andy Johnson and the March for Justice. Esau is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. His writings have also appeared in places such as The Atlantic, Washington Post, and Christianity Today.

Latest Book

How Far to the Promised Land

For much of his life, Esau McCaulley was taught to see himself as an exception: someone who, through hard work, faith, and determination, overcame childhood poverty, anti-Black racism, and an absent father to earn a job as a university professor and a life in the middle class. But that narrative was called into question one night, when McCaulley answered the phone and learned that his father—whose absence defined his upbringing—died in a car crash. McCaulley was being asked to deliver his father’s eulogy, to make sense of his complicated legacy in a country that only accepts Black men on the condition that they are exceptional, hardworking, perfect.

The resulting effort sent McCaulley back through his family history, seeking to understand the community that shaped him. In these pages, we meet his great-grandmother Sophia, a tenant farmer born with the gift of prophecy who scraped together a life in Jim Crow Alabama; his mother, Laurie, who raised four kids alone in an era when single Black mothers were demonized as “welfare queens”; and a cast of family, friends, and neighbors who won small victories in a world built to swallow Black lives. With profound honesty and compassion, he raises questions that implicate us all: What does each person’s struggle to build a life teach us about what we owe each other? About what it means to be human?

 

How Far to the Promised Land is a thrilling and tender epic about being Black in America. It’s a book that questions our too-simple narratives about poverty and upward mobility; a book in which the people normally written out of the American Dream are given voice.

Read More

Featured Content

February 19, 2024

The New Testament in Color

July 19, 2023

Andy Johnson and the March For Justice

July 19, 2023

Reading While Black

February 19, 2024

The New Testament in Color

July 19, 2023

Andy Johnson and the March For Justice

July 19, 2023

Reading While Black

February 19, 2024

The New Testament in Color

July 19, 2023

Andy Johnson and the March For Justice

July 19, 2023

Reading While Black

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Recent Publications

When Valentine’s Day Meets Ash Wednesday

February 14, 2024

Why Arguing Is My Cherished Holiday Tradition

January 11, 2024

Nature Is Profoundly Broken. Do We Love Anyone Beyond Ourselves Enough to Listen?

December 18, 2023

When Valentine’s Day Meets Ash Wednesday

February 14, 2024

Why Arguing Is My Cherished Holiday Tradition

January 11, 2024

Nature Is Profoundly Broken. Do We Love Anyone Beyond Ourselves Enough to Listen?

December 18, 2023

When Valentine’s Day Meets Ash Wednesday

February 14, 2024

Why Arguing Is My Cherished Holiday Tradition

January 11, 2024

Nature Is Profoundly Broken. Do We Love Anyone Beyond Ourselves Enough to Listen?

December 18, 2023