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Justifying Slavery via Genesis 9:20-27: The Vicious Legacy of Racist Interpretation of the Bible

Jason Bembry
Professor of Old Testament
Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan Collegejabembry@milligan.edu

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Abstract

The use of Gen 9:20-27 to justify slavery and racism extends back millennia and continues to be felt in the notion of white supremacy and the problem of white privilege. This article examines the passage in an effort to demonstrate that just as the biblical writers shaped the story to justify the enslavement of Canaanites, so later generations interpreted it to justify the enslavement of African peoples. It then traces the racist impulse in the interpretive tradition to equip those who encounter it today and to provide an opening for communities to discuss racism, its causes, and potential cures.

 
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Volume 23 Issue 1

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VOLUME 23, No. 1
Spring 2020

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