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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Bible and slavery share a reciprocal relationship in American life. In the history of the debates surrounding slavery, many have seen the Bible as speaking on both sides of the nation’s greatest moral sin. When the Bible failed to resolve the controversy over slavery on its own, a war determined the direction forward. Whether deliberate or not, “race” and “identity” were often at the forefront of searching the scripture. Interpreters did not always appreciate the historical distance between the Bible’s cultural contexts and US society. These debates should serve as a reminder that the justice of the Bible is not self-authenticating.

Keywords: Bible, slavery, slave narratives, Civil War, abolition, gradual emancipation, immediate emancipation, biblical authority, race, identity

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