Slavery, Sin, and the Rise of Liberal Protestantism
Ed. note: A lot of you are probably familiar with this book already, but here's a nice review of Molly Oshatz's new book, from Choice.
|Slavery and sin: the fight against slavery and the rise of liberal Protestantism.
Oxford, 2012. 183p index afp; ISBN 9780199751686, $49.95. Reviewed in 2012may CHOICE.. |
|Oshatz (San Francisco State Univ.) describes the ways in which the antebellum debates over the morality of slavery helped create the foundations for liberal theology. Because so many Christians looked to the words of the Bible to inform moral decisions, the proslavery tenor of its text posed a challenge to those Christians who increasingly opposed slavery. Some abolitionists simply rejected the Bible as an Iron Age relic. But moderates began to approach scripture in a different way than these immediatists or the apologists for slavery, who read the Bible literally. Moderates contended that the Bible reflected the historical times in which it was recorded and that its words masked more eternal principles of justice that could be apprehended through the individual's conscience. As human consciousness evolved, people became better able to understand eternal moral principles behind the plain text. This understanding of morality, rather than the words in the text itself, rendered slaveholding a sinful behavior. In Oshatz's skilled analysis, liberal theology provided an important, if short-lived, haven for those Christians who wished for a biblical rather than a secular morality, but whose evolving moral vision could not countenance the evils of antebellum slavery.|
Summing Up:Recommended. All levels/libraries. -- E. R. Crowther, Adams State College