Race, Sex, and the Curse

J. David Pleins

in When the Great Abyss Opened

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199733637
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852505 | DOI:
Race, Sex, and the Curse

Show Summary Details


In various versions of the Children's Bible, we observe that some narratives such as Noah's naked drunkenness and how he had cursed Ham's son Canaan have been left out, as have other scenes that exhibit tones of sex and racism. This is obviously because they are inappropriate for young readers. There are several ambiguities in interpreting this particular tale about Noah and Canaan, and this story presents seemingly unexpected actions for someone who was initially described as “righteous.” H. Hirsch Cohen, the author of The Drunkenness of Noah, believes that Noah was portrayed in such a manner as a demonstration of what he refers to as “philological sleuthing.” While alcohol during that time was believed to aid in sexual intercourse, Cohen points out that Noah used alcohol to fulfil God's command about being fruitful and multiplying. This chapter also incorporates Noah's narrative in the context of African-American enslavement.

Keywords: naked drunkenness; Children's Bible; Ham; Canaan; wine; H. Hirsch Cohen; African-American enslavement; God

Chapter.  7984 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.