‘Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God’

Robbie Shilliam

in African Athena

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199595006
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731464 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

‘Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God’

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  • Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)


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This chapter explores attempts made to reclaim antiquity from European ownership by the Black biblical hermeneutic tradition. The argument focuses upon the political philosophies and cosmologies of Marcus Garvey and the Rastafari movement in order to investigate how they reconfigure antiquity as African by virtue of the material and spiritual prominence they give to Ethiopia instead of Greece and Rome. The chapter also explores the differing registers used by Garveyism and Rastafari to achieve this aim – the former developmentalist, the later cosmological. The argument suggests that Garveyism and Rastafari, and the shift made by the later towards a cosmological understanding of antiquity, deserve serious and critical consideration in the ongoing project to decolonize the heritage and ownership of the Classical world.

Keywords: Garvey; Rastafari; Antiquity; Ethiopia; Africa

Chapter.  5912 words. 

Subjects: Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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