Materials for 2019 Society of Biblical Literature Presentation

Freedom Narratives and Artifacts of African American Interpretation of Deuteronomy: Digital Humanities Approach

The Book of Deuteronomy often lives in the shadow of the book of Exodus. Slavery provides the first period of interpretation of African American of the Book of Deuteronomy. Another source of African American interpretation comes out of the music of African American communities. A third source of interpretation is the preaching of the civil rights era culminating in the “Mountain Top” speech of Martin Luther King Jr. The assumption that African and African American interpretation began with the twentieth century turns a blind eye to pre-critical interpretation by Africana people, namely people from African and the African Diaspora. This research will partially remedy that deficit. Often North American interpreters forget the size and scope of Africa in antiquity and the present. For instance, early biblical interpreters Augustine and Tertullian were important African theologians using biblical material. The Arab conquest of Africa stand between the early African Christianity and the Middle Passage/Maafa. The relatively new appreciation of academic biblical scholars and theologians reading Scriptures with so-called regular readers provides a backdrop for this research.



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