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The Curse of Ham : Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - David M. Goldenberg

The Curse of Ham

Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Paperback Published: 7th August 2005
ISBN: 9780691123707
Number Of Pages: 472

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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.

Winner of the 2005 Meritorious Publication Award, University of Cape Town "[A] sweeping and ambitious work... [T]he research is meticulous and important."--Publishers Weekly "Goldenberg's study is clearly a work of mature scholarship on an important theme... He writes in an accessible style and makes complex matters intelligible to nonspecialists. In fact, I often became so engrossed in his argument that I thought I was reading a detective story."--Daniel J Harrington, America "Goldenberg has produced what may well become the definitive study of race and slavery in the Old Testament texts... In a work particularly valuable for its comprehensiveness and philology, Goldenberg's research is monumental; the writing is clear as a bell; the arguments are not only cogent, but honest... In short, this is a wonderful book and I hope that it finds many readers."--Molly Myerowitz Levine, Bryn Mawr Classical Review "For so massively erudite a work this book is remarkably accessible. Goldenberg is sufficiently persuaded of the importance of the case he is making- that the Bible does not measure people's worth by the color of their skin--not to encumber the main body of his book with the kind of extended academic argument in whose thickets most readers would soon be lost... [He has a] conviction that a scholarly work, if it has something important to say, should not be just for scholars."--John Pridmore, Church Times "An outstanding and comprehensive study."--Choice "[A] masterly book... With scrupulously meticulous and erudite scholarship, Goldenberg examines a plethora of source material and is a competent and assured guide through this labyrinth."--Desmond Tutu, Times Higher Education Supplement "The Curse of Ham will clearly have a significant impact on the perennial debate over the roots of racism and slavery and on the study of early Judaism, Christianity and Islam. My view is that this volume ought to be required reading for all Black scholars. Biblical exegetes, theologians and clergy will all find this a valuable resource."--Michael N. Jagessar,Black Theology "[This] book is the result of thirteen years of steady research and presents what is often highly technical scholarship and linguistic analysis in a readable, cogent manner...The Curse of Ham represents an important step towards increasing the ability of those who view the Bible as scripture to avoid continuing this error."--Stirling Adams, BYU Studies "Goldenberg has delved into the murky story which forms the focus of Genesis, Chapter 9: Noah's emergence from the flood, his drunken stupor, and his subsequent embarrassment at his son Ham's viewing of his nakedness. This is not only a meticulously documented work but an extraordinarily well-written inquiry...His purpose is to ascertain how this verse was transformed from a curse directed at Ham's son to a blanket condemnation of an entire race."--Arnold Ages, Chicago Jewish Star

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
List of Abbreviationsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Images of Blacks One Biblical Israel: The Land of Kushp. 17
Biblical Israel: The People of Kushp. 26
Postbiblical Israel: Black Africap. 41
Postbiblical Israel: Black Africansp. 46
The Color of Skin
The Color of Womenp. 79
The Color of Healthp. 93
The Colors of Mankindp. 95
The Colored Meaning of Kushite in Postbiblical Literaturep. 113
Evidence for Black Slaves in Israelp. 131
At the Crossroads of History and Exegesis
Was Ham Black?p. 141
"Ham Sinned and Canaan was Cursed?!"p. 157
The Curse of Hamp. 168
The Curse of Cainp. 178
The New World Order: Humanity by Physiognomyp. 183
Conclusion Jewish Views of Black Africans and the Development of Anti-Black Sentiment in Western Thoughtp. 195
When is a Kushite not a Kushite? Cases of Mistaken Identityp. 201
Kush/Ethiopia and Indiap. 211
Notesp. 213
Glossary of Sources and Termsp. 379
Subject Indexp. 395
Index of Ancient Sourcesp. 413
Index of Modern Scholarsp. 431
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691123707
ISBN-10: 0691123705
Series: Jews, Christians, And Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 472
Published: 7th August 2005
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.65