The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World)

The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World)

By: David M. Goldenberg (author)Paperback

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How old is prejudice against black people? Were the racist attitudes that fueled the Atlantic slave trade firmly in place 700 years before the European discovery of sub-Saharan Africa? In this groundbreaking book, David Goldenberg seeks to discover how dark-skinned peoples, especially black Africans, were portrayed in the Bible and by those who interpreted the Bible--Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Unprecedented in rigor and breadth, his investigation covers a 1,500-year period, from ancient Israel (around 800 B.C.E.) to the eighth century C.E., after the birth of Islam. By tracing the development of anti-Black sentiment during this time, Goldenberg uncovers views about race, color, and slavery that took shape over the centuries--most centrally, the belief that the biblical Ham and his descendants, the black Africans, had been cursed by God with eternal slavery. Goldenberg begins by examining a host of references to black Africans in biblical and postbiblical Jewish literature. From there he moves the inquiry from Black as an ethnic group to black as color, and early Jewish attitudes toward dark skin color. He goes on to ask when the black African first became identified as slave in the Near East, and, in a powerful culmination, discusses the resounding influence of this identification on Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thinking, noting each tradition's exegetical treatment of pertinent biblical passages. Authoritative, fluidly written, and situated at a richly illuminating nexus of images, attitudes, and history, The Curse of Ham is sure to have a profound and lasting impact on the perennial debate over the roots of racism and slavery, and on the study of early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

About Author

David M. Goldenbergis Isidore and Theresa Cohen Chair of Jewish Religion and Thought at the University of Cape Town, and Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. He was formerly President of Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning, Associate Director of the Annenberg Research Institute for Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, and Editor of "The Jewish Quarterly Review".


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS xi Introduction 1 PART ONE: IMAGES OF BLACKS ONE Biblical Israel: The Land of Kush 17 TWO Biblical Israel: The People of Kush 26 THREE Postbiblical Israel: Black Africa 41 FOUR Postbiblical Israel: Black Africans 46 PART TWO: THE COLOR OF SKIN FIVE The Color of Women 79 SIX The Color of Health 93 SEVEN The Colors of Mankind 95 EIGHT The Colored Meaning of Kushite in Postbiblical Literature 113 PART THREE: HISTORY NINE Evidence for Black Slaves in Israel 131 PART FOUR: AT THE CROSSROADS OF HISTORY AND EXEGESIS TEN Was Ham Black? 141 ELEVEN "Ham Sinned and Canaan was Cursed?!" 157 TWELVE The Curse of Ham 168 THIRTEEN The Curse of Cain 178 FOURTEEN The New World Order: Humanity by Physiognomy 183 Conclusion Jewish Views of Black Africans and the Development of Anti-Black Sentiment in Western Thought 195 APPENDIX I When is a Kushite not a Kushite? Cases of Mistaken Identity 201 APPENDIX II Kush/Ethiopia and India 211 NOTES 213 GLOSSARY OF SOURCES AND TERMS 379 SUBJECT INDEX 395 INDEX OF ANCIENT SOURCES 413 INDEX OF MODERN SCHOLARS 431

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780691123707
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 472
  • ID: 9780691123707
  • weight: 624
  • ISBN10: 0691123705
  • translations: English
  • language of text: English

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