Slavery & Slavery's Children
Dwight Allan Callahan wrote that ‘the Bible like no other book is the book of slavery’s children’.
The biblical narratives of oppression under the whip of the slave-masters in Egypt, of being in Exile in a strange land, of Exodus in search of a promised land, of crossing over Jordan to freedom, all resonated with those enslaved in the Americas in the time of Transatlantic slavery. And yet the Bible was also the source of the arguments of their enslavers, as a clear theological case was propounded for the God given necessity of slavery and the importance of godly slave masters, whilst at the same time insisting that it was dangerous for the enslaved to be taught to read the Bible for themselves.
This course will explore in its historical context the case made from the Bible for and against slavery, looking at both the legislation, preaching and publication of the slave owners and the counter-readings of the enslaved expressed in slave narratives, song and action. The arguments of anti-slavery campaigners will also be explored in the context of their hearing the voices of the enslaved.
The long aftermath of slavery as slavery’s children interact with the Bible will also be explored as Maria W. Stewart became the first woman to speak out on the public stage about the equality of women and Martin Luther King declared that he had a dream and Delores Williams said that Hagar was a sister in the wilderness and James Cone pointed up the connection between the cross and the lynching tree.