THE BIBLICAL VIEW OF SLAVERY
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Such a claim, he argues, is characteristic of a broader phenomenon in biblical scholarship, which focuses on defending, rather than describing, the ethical norms encountered in biblical texts. These features include manumission, fixed terms of service, familial rights, and egalitarian critiques of slavery.
At the same time, modern scholarship has used the standard tools of biblical exegesis in order to minimize the ethically negative implications of many biblical references to slavery. The second part of the book concentrates on how the Bible has been used throughout Christian history both to maintain and to extend slavery. Discussions of Gregory of Nyssa, Aquinas and Luther, among others, show that they are not such champions of freedom as they are often portrayed.
Biblical scholars have rarely recognized that pro-slavery advocates could use the Bible just as effectively. According to Avalos, one of the complex mix of factors leading to abolition was the abandonment of the Bible as an ethical authority.
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The case of the biblical attitude to slavery is just one confirmation of how unsuitable the Bible is as a manual of ethics in the modern world. Series: Bible in the Modern World , Contents 1. Galatians A Magna Carta of Humanity? Galatians No Longer Slaves? Sepulveda The Sixteenth Century: Protestants Unbound?
The earliest known official protest against slavery in America was the Resolutions of Germantown, Pennsylvania Mennonites, February 18, Rights of the Colonies , in Bernard Bailyn, ed. Hart, p. Allen Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, , p. II, p.
In Barton, p. Adams to Robert J. In West, p. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. IX, pp. New York: Random House, , p. Boston: Tappan, Whittemore, and Mason, , Vol. VIII, p. Dean Woodward on April 10, Barton, p. West, p. Harry v. Mississippi v. Jones , in West, p.
Congress banned the exportation of slaves from any state in , and in banned the importation of slaves. The individual states had passed similar legislation prior to as well. However, several Southern states continued to actively import and export slaves after their state ban went into effect. See Max Farrand, ed. Storing, ed. Remarks at the Constitutional Convention, August 22, Farrand, vol. In West, pp.
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Henry also pointed out that convenience contributed to the continuation of slavery. Believe me, I honor the Quakers for their noble efforts to abolish slavery.
The Bible, Slavery, and America’s Founders
Every thinking, honest man regrets it in speculation, yet how few in practice from conscientious motives. Would any man believe that I am master of slaves of my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them. I will not, I cannot justify it. For however culpable my conduct, I will so far pay my devoir to virtue as to won the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and to lament my own non-conformity to them.
See Hart, pp. While this is technically true in some measure, it is misleading. Thank for visiting WallBuilders. Previous Next. These include: Voluntary servitude by the sons of Israel indentured servants Those who needed assistance, could not pay their debts, or needed protection from another were allowed under Biblical law to become indentured servants see Ex.
They were dependent on their master instead of the state. This was a way to aid the poor and give them an opportunity to get back on their feet. It was not to be a permanent subsidy. Many early settlers to America came as indentured servants. These servants were well treated and when released, given generous pay. Voluntary permanent slaves If indentured servants so chose, they could remain a slave Ex. Their ear was pierced to indicate this permanent subjection. The law recognized that some people want the security of enslavement. Today, there are some people who would rather be dependent upon government to provide their needs and with that provision accepting their commands than do what is necessary to live free from its provision and direction.
Some even act in a manner that puts them in jail, desiring the care and provision they get more than personal freedom. The servitude ceased when enough work was done to pay for the amount due in restitution. Pagans could be permanent slaves Leviticus states: As for your male and female slaves whom you may have — you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession.
You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen [brother], the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another. This was not so for foreigners Deut. Theologian R. This passage in Leviticus says that pagans could be permanent slaves and could be bequeathed to the children of the Hebrews.
However, there are Biblical laws concerning slaves that are given for their protection and eventual redemption. Slaves could become part of the covenant and part of the family, even receiving an inheritance. Under the new covenant, a way was made to set slaves free internally, which should then be following by external preparation enabling those who were slaves to live at liberty, being self-governed under God.
Deuteronomy states: You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. Rushdoony writes: Thus, the only kind of slavery permitted is voluntary slavery, as Deuteronomy ,16 makes very clear.