Religious Studies | The Bible and Slavery
A395 | 28596 | J. Harrill


This seminar focuses on the historical and moral questions of chattel slavery in the Jewish,
Christian, and Muslim scriptures. We will examine how the biblical writers understood the
institution of legalized human bondage in the context of the larger slave society in which they
lived. We will explore also the painful history of how the Bible was used in the nineteenth-
century United States both to justify and to condemn slavery. 
The course will be based on
primary documents, such as the Bible, the Qur’an, Rabbinic literature, early Church writers,
medieval Muslim texts, as well as modern American abolitionist and proslavery sermons,
debates, and biblical expositions. The seminar, then, is an interdisciplinary one that combines
biblical studies, ancient history, American moral debate, and critical theory on biblical
interpretation (hermeneutics).