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Rebecca's Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World
"Rebecca's Revival" is the remarkable story of a Caribbean woman--a slave turned evangelist--who helped inspire the rise of black Christianity in the Atlantic world. All but unknown today, Rebecca Protten left an enduring influence on African-American religion and society. Born in 1718, Protten had a childhood conversion experience, gained her freedom from bondage, and joi ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published 2005 by Harvard University Press
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Rebecca's story is more than compelling on its own- what's not to be interested in about a young girl sold into slavery, converted to Christianity then freed, who becomes a preacher and then moves to Germany and West Africa. All in the 17th century. What makes the story even more interesting is the sensitivity with which Sensbach narrates and the research necessary to "revive" this previously "lost" material. This book has much to contribute to the transformation of slavery in the Caribbean and ...more
Jon Sensbach takes a close look at the influence of the Moravian mission efforts in St. Thomas and how these efforts shaped history in far-reaching places. He examines and describes the societal roles and expectations for African slaves, women, and Christians. He presents an understanding of these roles that may leave modern readers unsettled, including the views that Moravians, including Zinzendorf himself had of slavery and Christianity and the relationship between the two. It is impossible to ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Emma rated it really liked it
At first I was surprised that a historian used so much speculation to write a biography but after reading it I was highly impressed. Sensbach's task is to construct a narrative of a woman who left barely any written records. I think he successfully uses the missionary journals and the speculation to underscore the fact that Rebecca was, actually, a person with agency in her world, a truth very often overlooked by historians. Sensbach's conclusion is a bit tenuous (I find it hard to believe that ...more
This is the story of Rebecca Protten, an ex-slave, Moravian evangelist in the Caribbean. Rebecca's story offers such an interesting perspective on Christianity and slavery in the Americas, and it gives you a chance to see not only how Christians tried to evangelize in the context of wicked Christian slave-owners, but also how converted slaves themselves acted in the face of the violence of slavery. The book talks about Rebecca having to counsel young slave-women who would be routinely raped, or ...more
An intelligent and balanced look at an intriguing microcosm of history. The author is very careful and unbiased, but his unwillingness to stick his neck out translated into an underlying insipidity, which made it less interesting than it could/should have been.
Really well written totally readable history of a place and period (the 18th century in the Caribbean) that I knew next to nothing about. Rebecca (a freed slave who went on to be ordained in the Moravian church and teach and convert many enslaved African women) was reall inspirational, but I wish the book focused more squarely on her. And some of the theology of the Moravians at the time (the obsession with Christ's wounds most particularly) was a little hard to read about.
A good history of an overwhelmingly overlooked area: black women in Protestant ministry. Sensbach gives a intimate account of the struggles and trials of Rebacca, as she navigates a world far from positive towards her. Good reading for anyone interested in the Moravians as well.
Joins old and new worlds, centered on Chrisitanity and the Atlantic slave trade. A brilliant microhistory that gets at significant broad trends. Shows how Christianity provided agency to African slaves in the Dutch West Indies and subverted slaveowners' oppression of slaves.