Approaching Zora Neale Hurston as both a littérateur and cultural theorist who challenges conventional methodological and discursive boundaries, this article investigates her famous novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Drawing on Charles Long's category of “opacity” as a crucial factor in the dynamics of Black religious experience, I contend that the value of Their Eyes Were Watching God extends beyond the domain of literary theory into the domain of religious theory. More specifically, a close reading of certain passages in the novel signals disruptive wonderment and sacred silence as two motifs underscoring the integral status of epistemological opacity in Black religious experience. Further, the way the novel encodes these two motifs suggests the phenomenological receptivity of Black religious experience to spiritually based African and African-derived epistemological repertoires originating outside the Judeo-Christian tradition that construct reality independently.

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