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Noah's Curse : The Biblical Justification of American Slavery (Religion in America Series) Hardcover – March 28, 2002

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Noah's Curse : The Biblical Justification of American Slavery (Religion in America Series) + The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era)
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Product Details

  • Series: Religion in America
  • Hardcover: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (March 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195142799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195142792
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Well-researched, interdisciplinary, and strongly moral Historians of American religion, race relations, or slavery, as well as theologians interested in the interplay between the Bible, culture, and social problems, will find this book as excellent resource."-- The Journal of Religion

"Noah's Curse must be recognized as the most innovative and enlightening study of the Biblical defense of American slavery ever published. The dubious legend of Noah, as Stephen R. Haynes points out, is still with us, along with the Confederate symbols flying over public places and fundamentalists denouncing racial mixing. The Southern mind, he brilliantly explains, has woven the conventions of honor, the burdens of shame, the practice of race subordination, and the concept of divine grace into a single cultural fabric. In the field of religious and sectional history, this work will take an honored place next to the studies of Eugene Genovese and Donald Mathews. No one interested in American religious history can ignore this intellectually powerful study."--Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida; Author of Southern Honor and The Shaping of Southern Culture

"The ancient rabbis suggested that every biblical text has seventy legitimate meanings (and no doubt an infinite number of illegitimate ones). Stephen Haynes has produced an amazing history of interpretation of the Ham and Nimrod narratives. It becomes clear through his careful research that such texts are supple and vulnerable to misguided theological passion. This book lets us reflect on old mistakes and, by inference, invites us to reflect on our own availability for parallel misreadings. Noah's Curse is an exercise in historical disclosure not to be missed by those who care about the crisis of reading in the church and in a Bible-rooted culture."--Walter Brueggemann, Professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary; Author of Spirituality of the Psalms>

"Haynes's study provides a thorough and rich sense of the interpretive history of the scriptural story"--Christian Century

About the Author

Stephen R. Haynes holds the A.B. Curry Chair of Religious Studies at Rhodes College, where he has taught since 1989. His publications include Reluctant Witnesses: Jews and the Christian Imagination (1995) and, as co-editor, To Each its Own Meaning: An Introduction to Biblical Criticisms and Their Application (1993)

More About the Author

Stephen R. Haynes is Professor of Religious Studies at Rhodes College in Memphis and Theologian-in-Residence at Idlewild Presbyterian Church. He is the author or editor of eleven books, including The Last Segregated Hour: The Memphis Kneel-Ins and the Campaign for Southern Church Desegregation (Oxford, 2012).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Liberty and Union on January 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
I liked this book overall. It's an interesting bit of analysis on the issue. The author is a religious scholar, though, not a political historian. The analysis is very good, but there's not a great deal of discussion about how the South used the "curse" to justify slavery. That information is there, just not in as great a depth as possible. A nice addition to the study of religion and slavery, however.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stefano Tomasi on December 13, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
"History repeats itself", someone said. Humankind keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over, and seems never to learn any lesson. We witness abuse, violence, war, and sacrifice almost on a daily basis, and we do not even realize that our senses are immersed in a secular slumber, a state of semi-hypnotic condition, that refrains us from seeing clearly the true nature of things; homicides, genocides, and horrific principles such as Slavery, have catalyzed - and still are catalyzing - the lives of millions around the world, becoming in some cases, socially accepted behaviors. Fortunately for us, courageous authors, writers, and scholars, attempt to lift humanity to a higher level of consciousness, by inquiring on the reasons behind the occurrence of such horrible and questionable acts; by publishing their works, they aim to unveil the mysterious motives that may have caused those terrible outcomes, and more importantly, reach for new readers, so that to propagate a sense of general awareness among the current and the next generations, preventing those events from happening again.
Stephen R. Haynes, Ph.D, is one of them: he focuses on the history of United States of America, and seeks to find a justification to American Slavery with his book "Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification to American Slavery".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Howard M. Romaine on April 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Although Dr. Haynes, a religion professor at Memphis' Rhodes College sent me this book, as part of his self explanation for the more recent LAST SEGREGATED HOUR, (OXFORD 20120) I didn't really study it until the more recent book came out, and I highly recommend NOAH'S CURSE as a key component of comprehending this young scholar's serious commitment to comprehending the incomprehensible - organized and systematic color race prejudice within his own Christian denomination, (and in the larger Christian community), for he is an ordained Presbyterian minister. For me, his recent FACEBOOK page about the LAST Seg Hour, shows a photo of young people, black and white, lined up around a fortress like front of Memphis' 2nd Presbyterian Church where we stood for many weeks and my guess is the photo came only from the black press, as the activities remained "INVISIBLE" in the 'white press' of Mamphis for many, many weeks, reflecting the power and the propensity of white folk to ignore any challenge, however logical or VIVID, as my old Southwestern English prof would say, to their their false image of their own superiority, moral, spiritual, financial, intellectual, and well, you name it. A kind of ever willing 'superiority' that rings down thru the ages of American culture.

The book is all the more interesting, as it surveys not only the leading Presbyterion pastor, (and Southwester.Rhodes founder) Palmer from New Orleans, in two great chapters, one devoted to his sermons in defense of slavery, but another to his sermons in defense of segregation.
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