The Bible and Slavery

Mark A. Noll

in America's God

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195151114
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834532 | DOI:
 The Bible and Slavery

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Central to the slavery debate was the issue of how to use the Scripture. Three major positions emerged on the Bible and slavery. Theological conservatives usually defended a literal reading of the Scripture, which was held to provide a divine sanction for slavery. Radicals who wanted to abolish slavery sometimes agreed that the Bible sanctioned slavery, but that acknowledgment led them to disparage the Bible. In the middle were a distraught contingent of Bible readers who were troubled by their conclusion that the Bible sanctioned slavery, and who failed unsuccessfully in trying to combine faithfulness to Scripture and opposition to slavery. All factions, but especially the middle group, were constrained in their understanding of the Bible by the confluence (distinct to America) between traditional Christianity and commonsense republican principles.

Keywords: abolitionists; Albert Barnes; Henry Ward Beecher; Bible; Jonathan Blanchard; Civil War; William Lloyd Garrison; N. L. Rice; slavery; Thornton Stringfellow; James Henley Thornwell; Theodore Dwight Weld

Chapter.  8403 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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