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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The interpretation of the Bible by African Americans is linked to slavery. According to Delores Williams, African American slaves created an oral text from a written text, namely, the King James Version of the Bible. The Bible was a prominent fixture in the music, folkways, and mores of American slaves because it was the only literature available to them. African Americans first encountered the Bible at the existential intersection of the Great Awakening and the Peculiar Institution in colonial America, and learned to read it into their lives under the American slavery regime. Since the last quarter of the eighteenth century, African American biblical interpretation has been contemporary, contested, and critical.

Keywords: Bible, African Americans, slavery, Delores Williams, slaves, Great Awakening, Peculiar Institution, colonial America, biblical interpretation

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