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Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery
"A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." So reads Noah's curse on his son Ham, and all his descendants, in Genesis 9:25. Over centuries of interpretation, Ham came to be identified as the ancestor of black Africans, and Noah's curse to be seen as biblical justification for American slavery and segregation. Examining the history of the American interpretation ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Oxford University Press, USA
(first published January 1st 2002)
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Stephen R. Haynes is Professor of Religious Studies at Rhodes College in Memphis and Theologian-in-Residence at Idlewild Presbyterian Church. He is the author or editor of eleven books, including books on desegregation in American evangelical churches and works on the theologian and anti-Nazi dissident, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Haynes attempted in Noah’s Curse to provide a comprehensive survey of the Biblical justifications for slavery as expressed in the Antebellum South before the Civil War. He al ...more
The author does a reasonably good job showing that the story of Noah's curse was popular in antebellum America partly because it resonated with the Southern honor culture. I was also quite happy with his inclusion of the Nimrod legend in his history. I wasn't aware of how closely the Ham and Nimrod stories were linked in Southern defenses of slavery. For the most part, however, the author's analysis isn't particularly deep, insightful, or inclusive of non-obvious primary sources. I was especiall ...more