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Died: Cain Hope Felder, Scholar Who Lifted Up the Black People in the Bible

His pioneering work showed Scripture is full of racial diversity.
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Died: Cain Hope Felder, Scholar Who Lifted Up the Black People in the Bible
Image: Source image: HUS Divinity

Cain Hope Felder, a groundbreaking Bible scholar who called attention to the presence of black people in the Old and New Testaments, has died at the age of 76.

Part of the first wave of black Bible professors in the US, Felder’s research challenged generations of scholarship that ignored or downplayed race in Scripture.

By showcasing the numerous people with dark skin mentioned in the Bible, the longtime Howard University School of Divinity professor argued that white interpreters had erased black people from the text. That erasure, he said, enabled modern, racist readings of the Scripture.

“Black people are not only frequently mentioned,” he wrote, “but are also mentioned in ways that are favorable in terms of acknowledging their actual and potential role in the salvation history of Israel.”

Based on his textual and linguistic analysis, as well as his research into the cultures of the ancient Near East, Felder concluded that Moses’s wife Zipporah was black; ...

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May/June
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