Blacks in the Biblegreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
The eminent theologian, Dr. Cain Hope Felder, has made profound contributions in our ethnographic understanding of the African prescence in the development of Scripture. Felder's Heritage Bible is perhaps his scholarly magnum opus. Is it official AME doctrine [dogma] that the Old Testament Patriarchs, Moses, David, Jesus and members of His Disciples were black and indigenous Africans?
-- Anonymous, February 18, 2000
The fixation on color is a recent manifestation. The people of Bible history was not that concerned about color. As a matter of fact, you will find that color prejudice was invented in the United States. In my travels overseas, I have not found that I am judged by the color of my skin. You find that only in those areas where U.S. Service personell have been stationed. For example, when you get in those areas of France where no U.S. bases were, you do not find color prejudice. Pastor Paris
-- Anonymous, March 06, 2000
Pastor Paris, Yes, your observation about the fixation of race I find quite true. I'm afraid that the current obsession with attempts to "Africanize" Scripture may prove to be theologically counter-productive. By that I mean if the focus of salvation becomes subservient to partisan debates about race and ethnicity the Biblical mandate of Romans 10:8- 10 becomes moot. I recently attended a lecture about the Black presence in the Bible and the presentor went non-stop trying to "prove" that all key OT & NT personalities were black. No ethnographic or anthropological evidence was presented to support such assertions, yet in the name of Black History the presentor preservered. Now I am convinced that Jesus did not look like your average Swede but by the same token he surely wouldn't pass for an Adi Amin look-alike either. If anything Jesus loked liked the PLO leader Yasser Arafat a fellow Semite. When "Africanizing" Scripture supersedes Christain theology our theology will only suffer. Attempts made to blacken Scripture ironically result in the same form of ethnic chauvinism and psuedo-scholarship manifest in European theology. We can and should be above this level of simplicity.
-- Anonymous, March 07, 2000
A roman leader who was in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus wrote a letter to the roman emperor giving the physical appearance os Jesus. The letter shoul still be in the Vatican Library. I remember that it stated that Jesus eyes were blue. Many years ago there was an article in either National Geographic or Reader Digest. A survey was made in some remote hills of a middle east country where some of the relatives of Jesus had gone after Jesus death and resurrection. All of the descendants had blue eyes. DNA: About 6 or 7 years ago I heard on a TV program that the Japa nese had done some DNA studies trying to prove that they were a superior race. The result was that every race on earth today is descended from a common female ancestor. It is my firm belief that God creates souls. Period. No color! All with the same unique opportunities. It is up to us to do the best we can so that at the end our soul return to God. Hopefully not empty handed. It is up to us to use this unique opportunity called "life" to appreciate every human being for what he or she is as a person not for wealth, position in life or color of eyes and skin. Jesus spilled His Blood trying to save us all. Let us do our best not to let Him down. lucia
-- Anonymous, March 24, 2000
I am really starting to like you more and more Bill. First lets set the record straight about racism in religon. We can agree that racism has impacted us in every aspect of our existance, from where we live, what positions we hold in the work place, even our education is tainted with racist overtunes to this same day. We as people know to correct racist inbalances I other aspects of life teachings and doings, such as Columbus' discovery of America which we know is erroneous. We pain staking teach our children to fight against racism in all of its forms on a societital level, but in our education in religon we teach allow our children to stay decieved concerning the ethnicity of hebrew people including our savior Yahshua (Jesus). We never deal with the psychological impact of exposing our children to the images of white redeemer. Instead we ourselves won't acknowledge the saviors ethnicity as a man of color. We say it doesn't make any difference what color he has, because that's what we hear our white counter-parts say. Well if it didn't make a difference they went through an awefull lot of trouble to try and make him appear to have been white historically, which then lends credance to the myth that the hebrews must have been white to since after all Yahshua was hebrew and he was white with blue eyes.Yahweh stands agianst all lies no matter how insignifagant you make try to make them, yes even the so called "little white lies". Lets take off the kid gloves for a minute, question, if are a black male and you wanted to hide from the police who had a description of you, would you go into a suburban neighborhood(all white) or would you go to the ghetto(all black). Well only a fool would go to the suburbs, you would stick out like a whiteman on soultrain, no you would go to where you could blend end, greatly increasing your chance of not getting caught. So it was in the bible when Yahshua was a little baby and king Herrod sought to kill him Joseph was told to take his family and go to Rome right, no! He was told to go to Afrika (Egypt). One more thing have you ever met someone from Afrika with one of those funny sounding names like Babatunde. Although they're black immediately you know they're not from hear just by their names. In the bible all the names have been purposfully translated to led you and I as far away from Afrika as they can take us, with names like John, Paul, Peter, and Mark. I overly concern my self with correcting all names in the bible(perhaps I sould) but the very less I can do is to call the man who laid down his life for me by his proper name given to him by the father of creation.Yahshua(Yahweh is my salvation). HalleluYAH.
-- Anonymous, April 07, 2000
I am really starting to like you more and more Bill. First lets set the record straight about racism in religon. We can agree that racism has impacted us in every aspect of our existance, from where we live, what positions we hold in the work place, even our education is tainted with racist overtunes to this same day. We as people know to correct racist inbalances I other aspects of life teachings and doings, such as Columbus' discovery of America which we know is erroneous. We pain staking teach our children to fight against racism in all of its forms on a societital level, but in our education in religon we teach allow our children to stay decieved concerning the ethnicity of hebrew people including our savior Yahshua (Jesus). We never deal with the psychological impact of exposing our children to the images of white redeemer. Instead we ourselves won't acknowledge the saviors ethnicity as a man of color. We say it doesn't make any difference what color he has, because that's what we hear our white counter-parts say. Well if it didn't make a difference they went through an awefull lot of trouble to try and make him appear to have been white historically, which then lends credance to the myth that the hebrews must have been white to since after all Yahshua was hebrew and he was white with blue eyes.Yahweh stands agianst all lies no matter how insignifagant you make try to make them, yes even the so called "little white lies". Lets take off the kid gloves for a minute, question, if are a black male and you wanted to hide from the police who had a description of you, would you go into a suburban neighborhood(all white) or would you go to the ghetto(all black). Well only a fool would go to the suburbs, you would stick out like a whiteman on soultrain, no you would go to where you could blend end, greatly increasing your chance of not getting caught. So it was in the bible when Yahshua was a little baby and king Herrod sought to kill him Joseph was told to take his family and go to Rome right, no! He was told to go to Afrika (Egypt). One more thing have you ever met someone from Afrika with one of those funny sounding names like Babatunde. Although they're black immediately you know they're not from hear just by their names. In the bible all the names have been purposfully translated to led you and I as far away from Afrika as they can take us, with names like John, Paul, Peter, and Mark. I don't overly concern my self with correcting all names in the bible(perhaps I sould) but the very less I can do is to call the man who laid down his life for me by his proper name given to him by the father of creation.Yahshua(Yahweh is my salvation). HalleluYAH.
-- Anonymous, April 07, 2000
i do believe it is important to recognize that there were blacks in the bible. certainly christ was not as black as the darkest ethiopian or white as the purist nordesman but he certainly looked like the other people in the mediterranean - be they semites, latins, or mulattos - no doubt tanned, with dark curly hair, and dark eyes.
the descendants of ham played important roles in the bible and the interracial relationships between them and the semites should be used as examples to show that 1) God wasnt against such unions and 2) Racism is wrong. These are 2 points many self-proclaimed God-loving people often overlook.
-- Anonymous, March 20, 2001
Dr. Felder has become part of the problem rather than a solution. His writings seem to indicate that he is helping God finish the Bible. The Bible is not history. History is left to un-inspired folk called historians. The Bible speaks by what it does not say or emphasize as much as by what it says. I conclude that God is no respector of persons (races), and that the world belongs to Him "all they that dwell therein." Blessings Pastor Paris
-- Anonymous, March 23, 2001
I believe there were plenty of blacks in the bible.Trace Ham blood line and you will find that the Jews mixed with Ham's descendants. Now if Ham were the father of the black or dark race, then it's logical that Jesus had African blood or the dark race blood in him, which makes him mixed. This should be explosed even though it does not have anything to do with Salvation. It would help our preception of the black race as a whole. I have several sources to comfrim that the ancient Egyptians were a dark race dispite what white historians say. Ancient historians said that the ancient Egyptians were black. American historians need to honest with both blacks and whites. If they let out the information they are holding back from the public, everybody would be shock, especially if they put it in mainstream America. My main point is that it was highly unlikely that there was a pure Jewish race, even in Jesus'day. Jesus may not have been completely black, but to me, he was mixed. I know that here in America he is painted as a blue-eyed white person, but that is not correct as far as I am concerned. He should look like the Arabian people in the Middle East, which would be more accurate. However, to be even more accurate, he should favor a dark Middle East person, not a white American.
-- Anonymous, March 30, 2001
I don't understand why it bothers anyone to really know and understand the truth and the truth is that there are many Africans in the Bible and because too many Christians don't study to show themselves approved and wait for everything to be handed down to them from the pulpit, they don't know and when someone comes around who knows a little bit more than they do they are either reverenced or ridiculed. The information is out there if anyone cares enough to know for themselves and not accept some outlandish racist ideology about Ham.
Historically speaking, whenever the word Egypt or Ethiopian is used in the Bible, that's Africans and there were many strong African Kings and queens who contributed much to the Bible.
Take Makeda queen of Sheba who left Soloman breathless. She's mentioned there and there are others too. Far too many to mention here but consider history as Akhatenon (spelling ?) was the father of Monotheism a millenium before Abrahamand. Also an African. Take Imhotep the father of medicine from who the snake on the rod symbol was taken before Moses. All of these contributions were African and yet we dont' even realize as African-Americans that there were both emperors and Popes governing rome during the First Century AD and even before then. Why? We don't like to read and would rather be spoon fed everything.
God is a definite God and can be proven throughout History. Everything points to him, science, archeology and world History but we have to read to find this out.
I would like to encourage and challenge you to study African history you will find that its not the dark continent after all and that the only thing dark were the people. Science is just discovering the advancement of the knowledge and even religous practices that were common in Africa. The European went to Africa to learn how to have a civilization as it was quite primitive compared to Africa. As Africa was enjoying at least 25,000 or more years of civilization Europe was in its infancy. Explain that if African's didn't have a strong impact on the Bible.
Europeans no more about us than we do and we can't blame noone but ourselves. Don't digest everything the media wants to tell you about Africa. Cleopatra was not white, nor was the original jews. Further more in 1996 two (the Leakeys, for you to look up) archeologist found what was believed then to be the first human bones...in South Africa and about 3 weeks ago another Archelogist found human remains carbon dated at least 3,000,000 years old...where else Africa.
April 15th Discovery channel is going to have a program to discuss the racial origins of Christ Jesus. You can go to www.Discovery.com/news/ap/20010326/jesus.html to find more about this.
Peace and happy reading as I know you want to know more,i pray :)
-- Anonymous, April 01, 2001
No one denies the African (Black) presence in the Bible. The point that I try to make is that racism as we know it today did not exist in those days. There were plenty of "isms" and discrimination but it was not on the basis of color as it is today. Racism as we know it today is an Ubuted States invention that is only as old as this country. To try to pin color bias on the writers of the Bible is patently wrong. As a matter of fact, if you travel to places where few other Americans (US Citizens) do you will be astounded at the lack of cooor bias. They may be curious about your black skin but not biased. Blessings Pastor Paris
-- Anonymous, April 01, 2001
This is a very interest subject. I believe if the african culture is not noticed in the Bible we will not understand some the scriptures. For example Samson had Lots in his hair. Lot means braids. The holy city of Jerusalem was firsted called Salem. Later it was called Jerusalem when the Jebusites lived there. The Middleeast was given that name in this century. It is interesting that Abram name became "Abraham". If we do not acknowledge African people and culture in the Bible we will miss understanding the scriptures. Abraham is from the land of the Chaldeans. The Chaldeans were descendents of Nimrod (Father of the Babylonians). Nimrod was the grandson of ham. I would have missed that information if I did not study geneology. Geneology is important to study. If it was not then Moses and other writers of the Bible would have left it out. Studying who people are and the places they lived is very essential for rightly dividing the Word of God. Even on the day of Pentecost people came from all over the World to meet in the upper room. God's salvation is universal, but to deny who is who and their culture is denying God's universal plan of salvation. It does not mean that one culture or color of people is better than another. People have been denying any African people or culture in the Bible because during the time they lived it was their only way to justify having slaves and treating people different because of the color of their skin. Having slaves and treating people differently because of the color of their skin was not Godly. People don't talk about the split in the church between the Eastern and Western church. One of the reasons the Ethopian church split with the Western church was over slavery. The Ethopian church condemed it!!! One of the first nations to except Christianity was Ethopia. Remember the Ethopian enunch. Well he went back to the Candace(Queen) of Ethopia and it became their national religion. Anytime research is done in history. Who the people are and their culture is always studied. Why is it a problem when it comes to studying the Bible? Being called "King of Kings" was African termiology. Elder is an African and tribal people terminology.
-- Anonymous, April 22, 2001
The African presence is very visible throughtout the Bible as well as history. However, one cannot attach any special significance to that fact, neither can one deny that fact.
The truth is that we (in the United States) are obsessed with race (Black vs White), or what we call race. There is no such thing as a black race or white race. We really are obsessed with color. In my travels, I have found that no other nation on earth is as obsessed with color as we are. What does that say about us.
That's just the way it was and is. God was able to hide His Messiah in Africa (Egypt) and then call Him out at the appointed time which ought to tell you something about His appearance.
-- Anonymous, April 24, 2001
Many people are shocked to find that Yeshua better known as Jesus Christ was indeed a black Hebrew from the house of David. Even I was shocked, because I to grew up believing in this false European image of Christ which was created in the 15th century by MichaelAngelo. But after a couple of years of research I like so many scholars have discovered the truth. It really should not surprise anyone who is not filled predjudice, given the location and time of his birth. One must also consider that Judah occupied the land of the Jebusites, and Canaanites who were Hamatic tribes in the region. The bible provides clear evidence of the Amalgamation that occurs between Israel in the nations occupying the land. Christ's own lineage mentions 3 Hamatic Ancestors, Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba. One can consider the historical evidence which clearly shows that the black images of Christ existed several hundred years before the first white image was created, many of these black images of Christ was created by the Romans who had first hand knowledge of his ethnicity. But racism prevents one from thinking intelligently and logically, that is why many Europeans and their decendants refuse to publicly acknowledge that Christ was a black man. But now is the time where we need to start dealing with things honestly, we must move past the issue of race, and acknowledging the truth about Christ's ethnicity is one major step in the right direction
-- Anonymous, January 06, 2002
So Jesus was black. Fine. This affects us how? Does it change His deity, His teachings, His sacrifice, His resurrection, or the fact that He's going to return? Does it affect the work He's doing today, or His will? Does it change the obligation each of us has to Him?
Does His being black make those who share that trait superior, or those that don't share that trait inferior? Of course not. In fact, one of the complaints registered here is that some misguided Europeans did exactly that. I hope the readers of this board would not lower themselves to that same level.
Now the Bible does emphasize heritage. It speaks of blessed and cursed families. It speaks of nations, mostly in the Middle East, many that no longer exist. There are also nations spoken of in prophesy such as the Kings of the East. Of course the one group that IS shown to be favored above all others is Israel. If you mess with the Jews God will mess with you! So I'm always a strong supporter of modern Israel, and any Jew I meet is my automatic friend.
That brings up the most important distinction between people groups in Scripture: That between Jew and Gentile. As a Gentile I'm going to find out what God wants me to do and do it. If you're a Jew, consider yourself special, but oh by the way you still need to accept Christ the same as a Gentile.
As for race relations, the color of Jesus only matters in the mind of those who think that makes them better than others. They're called bigots. So whatever the color of this mis-guided soul, if he/she finds self-worth in having Jesus share their color, no one can convince them He was any other color.
The truth is, color doesn't matter, Jewishness does. But even that has its limits. It mostly relates to their place in history and God's perserving them while other groups have vanished. And have you noticed that Jews have for a long time come in many colors?
-- Anonymous, January 06, 2002
As a white woman pushing 60 (and i don't drive (-:) I am now going to an A.M.E. church, I am happy we are studying this topic, Blacks in the Bible too. We were told tonight that Noah was Black and since, after the flood, only he and his family were left alive, there are a whole lot more Black prople in the Bible before and after him (as well as Ham, the Hittites, the Egyptians, etc.). I left a white INDEPENDENT BAPTIST Church, the variety even critical of Billy Graham and modern English Bibles, and who won't have joint services with any different denomination, because of its sexism. Towards the end racism was rearing its ugly head through one anti NAACP remark from the pastor and about 4 emailed stereotyped remarks from a sort of temporary asst. pastor there through March. I figure it's my responsibility to pray and share the truth with this very ignorant man. I am joining the NAACP. So now, At the A.M.E. church I am feeling accepted,loved, less stressed, and more enthusiastic among Christians who practice their Christianity, from the pastor and HER congregation.A young white Mormon man, who often comes with me, finds it therapeutic and refreshing. He is autistic, but high functioning. Jason isn't saved yet (please pray). He's getting more true doctrine all the time, but no relationship with Jesus (Yeshua) yet. Because of their lack of understanding of autism and lack of compassion, many of his ward (congregation) members judge and ignore him. His bishop called him evil. This coming Sun. we celebrate founder's (Richard Allen) Day and I will have a display of African Amer. literature, poetry. post cards, etc. that I have collected for years. For next Thurs. eve, I am looking for websites with archeological evidence for Blacks in the Bible and the genealogical support too. As a woman, I too read the Bible with a hermeneutics of suspicion (got that term from an article found on Google search engine before I found yours).Glad I found this article. God Bless You, My Sisters and Brothers in Christ. Karen
-- Anonymous, February 08, 2002
Karen Walling, people like you are encouraging. I think that there are some progressive white Christians, who are able to look beyond race, when pursuing the truth.
But unfortunately, most whites will not even entertain the possiblity that Yeshua may have been black. Some still believe that blacks are a cursed race of people, so therefore he could not have possibly have been black.
This way of thinking is still around in the 21st century. Many blacks realize that if whites are unwilling to accept the fact that the Ancient Egyptians were black, despite the plethora of evidence which clearly shows that they were, than they will definitely not accept the fact that many of the Hebrews were black, including Yeshua.
-- Anonymous, September 07, 2002
Thanks Bill for bringing up this topic. Some of the posters on this board raise the question...What difference does ethicity make? Well I ask, if it doesn't make a difference, then way were the characters made white in the first place. My theory is to program the masses. Truth is liberating. These people were Afrikans, including the Virgin Mary. Our children should KNOW that Holiest of the holy looked like their grandmother, daddy, or most importantly themselves.
-- Anonymous, September 09, 2002
I think that black and African presence in the Bible is very important and due to it long history of being denied it is also one that should be taught. As a result I have done this with my Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and Lay.
With good references we may find clues which guide us in determining the truth: For example the opening words or Zaphaniah identify him as the son of Chusi, cushi being a term which definitely refers to black. Nimrod, the mighty hunter and architect, is also identified as a cushite or a son of Cush thus we know he also was black. And finally even though Saint Paul is not identified as being black he was definitely so dark that Acts 21; 38 tells us he was confused with being an Egyptian --definitely black in his day.
Two very good references I have and use are:
1) "The Black Presence In the Bible" by Reverend Walter McCray; Black Light Fellowship, Chicago, IL, 1990: Library of Congress catalogue # 90-80108; ISBN: 0-933176-12-0.
2) "Africans Who Shaped Our Faith" by Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., Urban Ministries, Inc., Chicago, IL, 1995, Library of Congress # 9- 5302, ISBN 0940955-29-6
-- Anonymous, September 09, 2002