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Curse of Ham

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The Drunkenness of Noah by Giovanni Bellini, depicting Ham (center) laughing at his father, while Shem and Japheth cover him. The Curse of Ham (also called the curse of Canaan) refers to the curse that Ham's father Noah placed upon Ham's son Canaan, after Ham "saw his father's nakedness" because of drunkenness in Noah's tent. It is related in the Book of Genesis 9:20-27. Some Biblical scholars see the "curse of Ham" story as an early Hebrew rationalization for Israel's conquest and enslavement of the Canaanites, who were presumed to descend from Canaan. The "curse of Ham" had been used by some members of Abrahamic religions to justify racism and the enslavement of people of Black African ancestry, who were believed to be descendants of Ham. They were often called Hamites and were believed to have descended through Canaan or his older brothers. This racist theory was widely held during the 18th-20th centuries, but it has been largely abandoned since the mid-20th century by even the most conservative theologians.


1 The curse of Ham in the Hebrew Bible 2 Interpretations of the curse of Ham o 2.1 Early Jewish interpretations o 2.2 Early and Early Modern Christian interpretations o 2.3 Pre-modern European interpretations o 2.4 The curse of Ham in the Latter-day Saint Movement (Mormon)

2.4.1 The curse of Ham in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) o 2.5 The curse of Ham in Black Hebrew Israelite and Nuwaubian folklore o 2.6 Islamic interpretations 3 References o 3.1 Notes 4 See also

5 External links

[edit] The curse of Ham in the Hebrew Bible

The source of the "curse of Ham" interpretation comes from Genesis 9:20-27, which states the story of Noah's family, soon after the flood: 20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. 24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. 25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. 27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. Ham is not directly cursed for his actions; instead the curse falls upon his youngest son Canaan. The curse seems unusually severe for merely observing Noah unclothed. An explanation sometimes offered notes that the phrase "expose father's nakedness" is used several times elsewhere in the Pentateuch as a euphemism for having sexual relations with one's mother, suggesting a different crime. Leviticus 20:11 If a man has sexual intercourse with his fathers wife, he has exposed his fathers nakedness. Leviticus 18:7-8 You must not expose your fathers nakedness by having sexual intercourse with your mother. She is your mother; you must not have intercourse with her. 8 You must not have sexual intercourse with your fathers wife; she is your fathers nakedness.

[edit] Interpretations of the curse of Ham

[edit] Early Jewish interpretations
The Torah assigns no racial characteristics or rankings to Ham. Moses married a Cushite, one of the reputed descendants of Ham, according to the Book of Numbers, Chapter 12. Despite this, a number of early Jewish writers have interpreted the Biblical narrative of Ham in a racial way. The Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 108b states "Our Rabbis taught: Three copulated in the ark, and they were all punished the dog, the raven, and Ham. The dog was doomed to be tied, the raven expectorates [his seed into his mate's mouth]. and Ham was smitten in his skin."{Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 108b} The nature of Ham's "smitten" skin is unexplained, but latter commentaries described this as a darkening of skin. A later note to the text states that the "smitten" skin referred to the blackness of descendents, and a later comment by rabbis in the Bereshit Rabbah asserts that Ham himself emerged from the ark black-skinned[1]. The Zohar states that Ham's son Canaan "darkened the faces of mankind".[2]

[edit] Early and Early Modern Christian interpretations

Many pre-modern Christian sources discuss the curse of Ham in connection with race and slavery: Origen (circa 185-c. 254): For the Egyptians are prone to a degenerate life and quickly sink to every slavery of the vices. Look at the origin of the race and you will discover that their father Cham, who had laughed at his fathers nakedness, deserved a judgment of this kind, that his son Chanaan should be a servant to his brothers, in which case the condition of bondage would prove the wickedness of his conduct. Not without merit, therefore, does the discolored posterity imitate the ignobility of the race [Non ergo immerito ignobilitatem decolor posteritas imitatur]. Homilies on Genesis 16.1 Mar Ephrem the Syrian said: When Noah awoke and was told what Canaan did. . .Noah said, Cursed be Canaan and may God make his face black, and immediately the face of Canaan changed; so did of his father Ham, and their white faces became black and dark and their color changed. Paul de Lagarde, Materialien zur Kritik und Geschichte des Pentateuchs (Leipzig, 1867), part II The Eastern Christian work, the Cave of Treasures (4th century), explicitly connects slavery with dark-skinned people: When Noah awoke. . .he cursed him and said: Cursed be Ham and may he be slave to his brothers. . .and he became a slave, he and his lineage, namely the Egyptians, the Abyssinians, and the Indians. Indeed, Ham lost all sense of shame and he became black and was called shameless all the days of his life, forever. La caverne des trsors: version Gorgienne, ed. Ciala Kourcikidz, trans. JeanPierre Mah, Corpus scriptorium Christianorum orientalium 526-27, Scriptores Iberici 23-24 (Louvain, 1992-93), ch. 21, 38-39 (translation).

Ishodad of Merv (Syrian Christian bishop of Hedhatha, 9th century): When Noah cursed Canaan, instantly, by the force of the curse. . .his face and entire body became black [ukmotha]. This is the black color which has persisted in his descendents. C. Van Den Eynde, Corpus scriptorium Christianorum orientalium 156, Scriptores Syri 75 (Louvain, 1955), p. 139. Eutychius, Alexandrian Melkite patriarch (d. 940): Cursed be Ham and may he be a servant to his brothers He himself and his descendants, who are the Egyptians, the Negroes, the Ethiopians and (it is said) the Barbari. Patrologiae cursus completes series Graeca, ed. J.P. Migne (Paris, 1857-66), Pocockes (1658-59) translation of the Annales, 111.917B (sec. 41-43) Ibn al-Tayyib (Arabic Christian scholar, Baghdad, d. 1043): The curse of Noah affected the posterity of Canaan who were killed by Joshua son of Nun. At the moment of the curse, Canaans body became black and the blackness spread out among them. Joannes C.J. Sanders, Commentaire sur la Gense, Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium 274-275, Scriptores Arabici 24-25 (Louvain, 1967), 1:56 (text), 2:52-55 (translation). Bar Hebraeus (Syrian Christian scholar, 1226-86): And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and showed [it] to his two brothers. That isthat Canaan was cursed and not Ham, and with the very curse he became black and the blackness was transmitted to his descendents. And he said, Cursed be Canaan! A servant of servants shall he be to his brothers. Sprengling and Graham, Barhebraeus Scholia on the Old Testament, pp. 40-41, to Gen 9:22. See also: Phillip Mayerson, Anti-Black Sentiment in the Vitae Patrum, Harvard Theological Review, vol. 71, 1978, pp. 304-311. According to Catholic mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich, "I saw the curse pronounced by Noah upon Ham moving toward the latter like a black cloud and obscuring him. His skin lost its whiteness, he grew darker. His sin was the sin of sacrilege, the sin of one who would forcibly enter the Ark of the Covenant. I saw a most corrupt race descend from Ham and sink deeper and deeper in darkness. I see that the black, idolatrous, stupid nations are the descendants of Ham. Their color is due, not to the rays of the sun, but to the dark source whence those degraded races sprang" [1].

[edit] Pre-modern European interpretations

In the middle ages, European scholars of the Bible picked up on the Jewish Talmud idea of viewing the "sons of Ham" or Hamites as cursed, possibly "blackened" by their sins. Though early arguments to this effect were sporadic, they became increasingly common during the slave trade of the 18th and 19th Centuries.[3] The justification of slavery itself through the sins of Ham was well suited to the ideological interests of the elite; with the emergence of the slave trade, its racialized version justified the exploitation of a ready supply of African labour. This interpretation of Scripture was never adopted by the African Coptic Churches.

[edit] The curse of Ham in the Latter-day Saint Movement (Mormon)

Main article: Blacks and Mormonism The first recorded indication of Joseph Smith's adoption of the doctrine of the curse of Ham is found in a parenthetical reference as early as 1831. (Manuscript History 19 June 1831).[citation needed] [edit] The curse of Ham in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) Main article: Blacks and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints This article needs additional citations for verification.
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After the death of Joseph Smith, Jr., Brigham Young, the church's second president, taught that people of African ancestry were under the curse of Ham. Young also taught that the day would come when the curse would be nullified through the saving powers of Jesus Christ. (Simonsen, Reed, If Ye Are Prepared, pp. 243-266). In addition, based on his interpretation of the Book of Abraham, Young also believed that as a result of this curse, modern people of African descent were banned from receiving the Priesthood (although they were allowed to join the Church). Young believed the curse remained in people with even a single black ancestor. However, every President of the Church from Joseph Smith Jr. to Spencer W. Kimball stated that the day would come when the Priesthood would be available to all men.[citation needed] In 1978, after much prayer and fasting on the matter, President Spencer W. Kimball of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received a revelation which officially extended the Priesthood to all worthy males.

[edit] The curse of Ham in Black Hebrew Israelite and Nuwaubian folklore
The Nuwaubians, and certain Black Hebrew Israelite sects such as Yahweh Ben Yahweh reversed the typical racial slant of the curse of Ham. In their teaching, the curse was leprosy which in its extreme form whitened the skins of the Canaanites. [4] [5]

[edit] Islamic interpretations

See also: Islamic view of Noah Prophets of Islam are generally considered by hadith to have kept Islamic law, even before Islam existed; the belief is that God's universal will guided them in the same way as Muhammad, and their habits simply were not accepted by others nor written down. As Islam discourages the consumption of alcohol, this means that the story could not have

happened as described in the Torah, as Noah would never be drunk. Instead the story of Noah's nakedness is sometimes explained as the result of the wind blowing off his cloak. Nevertheless, the story of the curse is not part of Islamic scripture. Early Islamic scholars debated whether or not there was a curse on Ham's descendents. Some accepted that there was, and some argued that it was visible in dark skin. The Abrg des merveilles states that "Noah cursed Ham, praying to God that Ham's sons may be cursed and black and that they be subjected as slaves to those of Shem". However Ibn Khaldun disputed this story, pointing out that the Torah makes no reference to the curse being related to skin color and arguing that differences in human pigmentation are caused entirely by climate[6]. Ahmad Baba agreed with this view, rejecting any racial interpretation of the curse. In the One Thousand and One Nights there is an argument between black and white concubines about which color is better. The white concubine tells the story of the curse of Ham, saying that Ham was blackened because he ridiculed his father, but Shem was whitened because he refused to do so. The black concubine replies with the argument that whiteness is associated with death and leprosy.[7]

[edit] References

David M. Goldenberg (2003). The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World). Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 0-691-11465-X. Stephen R. Haynes (2002). Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery. Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 0-19-514279-9.

[edit] Notes
1. ^ Solors, Werner, Neither Black nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature, 1997, Oxford University Press, p. 87 2. ^ Solors, p. 87 3. ^ Benjamin Braude, "The Sons of Noah and the Construction of Ethnic and Geographical Identities in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods, "William and Mary Quarterly LIV (January 1997): 103142. See also William McKee Evans, "From the Land of Canaan to the Land of Guinea: The Strange Odyssey of the Sons of Ham,"American Historical Review 85 (February 1980): 1543 4. ^ - Nubian & Pale Hamites 5. ^ The Hebrews & The Sons Of Ham 6. ^ Solors, Werner, Neither Black nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature, 1997, Oxford University Press, p. 90 7. ^ Solors, Werner, Neither Black nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature, 1997, Oxford University Press, p. 91

[edit] See also

Ham, son of Noah Hamitic Sons of Noah Curse and mark of Cain

[edit] External links

Messenger and Advocate Sermon on separate heavens and race relations in Mississippi Jasher 7 An account of the theft of the garment by Ham is found in Jasher 7:2429. Black people cursed in the Bible

Abrahamic religion
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Symbols of the three main Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism

Map showing the prevalence of Abrahamic (purple) and Eastern (yellow) religions in each country. Abrahamic religion is a term commonly used to designate the three prevalent monotheistic religionsChristianity, Islam, and Judaism[1][2]which claim Abraham (Hebrew: Avraham ; Arabic: Ibrahim ) as a part of their sacred history. Other, smaller religions that identify with this traditionsuch as the Bah' Faith and Druze faithare sometimes included.[3] Abrahamic religions account for more than half of the world's total population. Today, there are around 3.8 billion followers of various Abrahamic religions.[4] Eastern religions form the other major religious group, encompassing the "Dharmic" religions of India and the "Taoic" East Asian religions both terms being parallels of the "Abrahamic" category.


1 Origin of the expression 2 Common aspects 3 Overview o 3.1 The significance of Abraham 4 Origins 5 Patriarchs 6 The Supreme Deity o 6.1 Judaism o 6.2 Christianity o 6.3 Islam o 6.4 Bah' Faith 7 Religious scriptures o 7.1 Judaism o 7.2 Christianity o 7.3 Islam o 7.4 Rastafari movement 8 The coming 9 Afterlife o 9.1 Judaism o 9.2 Islam o 9.3 Bah' Faith 10 Worship 11 Circumcision 12 Food restrictions 13 Sexuality in Abrahamic religions o 13.1 Homosexuality 14 Proselytism 15 See also

16 Notes 17 Bibliography 18 External links

[edit] Origin of the expression

Abrahamic religions is a term of Islamic origin.[1][2] The view of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as three traditions with a single origin also has a tradition in the West, beginning with Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's Nathan the Wise (1779). The English expression "Abrahamic religions" arises in the 20th century, in ca. the 1960s (e.g. James Kritzeck, Sons of Abraham, 1965). It is the choice of Abraham as a common label that makes them Abrahamic. It stems from his reputation as the "Father of many", which is the literal meaning of his name.[dubious discuss] He is claimed by Jewish tradition as the ancestor of the Israelites through his son Yitzchak (Is'haq in Arabic, Isaac in English). By Muslim tradition his other son Ishmael (Isma'il, in Arabic) is the ancestor of the Arabs including Muhammad, thus making Abraham an ancestor to all later prophets, since all, except Muhammed, were descended from Israelites. Christians refer to Abraham as a "father in faith" (see Romans 4); the phrase may also be meant to suggest that all three religions come from one source.[dubious

Adam, Noah, and Moses are also common to all three religions. As for why we do not speak of an "Adamic," "Noachian," or "Mosaic" family, this may be for fear of confusion. Adam and Noah are said to be the ancestors of all humanity (though as named characters they are specific to the Biblical/Qur'anic tradition). Moses is closely associated with Judaism and, through Judaism, Christianity. Moses is regarded as a Prophet in Islam, but the term "Mosaic" may imply a genealogical lineage which the first Muslims, being Arab, did not share (e.g., descending from Ishmael). Thus, the scope suggested by the first two terms is larger than intended, while the third is too small. Conversely, there are religions that share characteristics of the Abrahamics but have different origins. The separate origins are generally accepted to preclude them from Abrahamic classification.[attribution needed] For example, Zoroastrianism has monotheistic, prophetic, ethical, revelatory, historical orientation, desert-origin attributes. However, it is Indo-Iranian rather than Semitic, and does not identify with the characters and events of the Bible and Qur'an. Similarly Sikhism has monotheistic, ethical, revelatory, and arguably prophetic attributes, though its origins are Indic rather than Middle Eastern.
[citation needed]

[edit] Common aspects

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A number of commonalities between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam exist:

Monotheism. All three religions are monotheistic, although Jews and Muslims sometimes claim the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity constitutes polytheism. A prophetic tradition. All three religions recognize figures called "prophets," though their lists differ, as do their interpretations of the prophetic role. Semitic origins. Judaism and Islam originated among Semitic peoples namely the Jews and Arabs, respectively while Christianity arose out of Judaism. A basis in divine revelation rather than, for example, philosophical speculation or custom. An ethical orientation. All three religions speak of a choice between good and evil, which is conflated with obedience or disobedience to God. A linear concept of history, sometimes coined as eschatology, beginning with the Creation and the concept that God works through history. Association with the desert, which some commentators believe has imbued these religions with a particular ethos. Devotion to the traditions found in the Bible and the Qur'an, such as the stories of Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses.

[edit] Overview

The tomb of Abraham, a cenotaph above the Cave of the Patriarchs traditionally considered to be the burial place of Abraham All the Abrahamic religions are related to (or even derived from) Judaism as practiced in ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah prior to the Babylonian Exile, at the beginning of the 1st millennium BC.

Many believe that Judaism in Biblical Israel was renovated and reformed to some extent in the 6th century BC by Ezra and other priests returning to Israel from the exile. According to The Oxford Companion To World Mythology (David Leeming, Oxford University Press, 2005, page 118), "It seems almost certain that the God of the Jews evolved gradually from the Canaanite El, who was in all likelihood the 'God of Abraham'...If El was the high god of Abraham - Elohim, the prototype of Yahveh - Asherah was his wife, and there are archeological indications that she was perceived as such before she was in effect 'divorced' in the context of emerging Judaism of the seventh century B.C.E. (See 2 Kings 23:15)".Bartbandy Samaritanism separated from Judaism in the next few centuries. The Noachide faith - see also Noahide Law - is also based upon the faith of Abraham as revealed in the Torah and Bible, yet Noachides are not necessarily descendants of Abraham, although a Noachide might be of Abrahamic lineage through any of the children of Abraham. Because there is no way of tracing this accurately, the Noachides are determined by their ancestral connection to Noah, who was Abraham's ancestor. It is taught that Noah, and his son, Shem, who was Abraham's grandfather and also taught Abraham's son Yitzhak (Isaac), was also monotheistic, but there is no evidence to show that they attempted to influence any one other than family members regarding the elements of their faith. Some Christian religions teach that Christianity began with Adam, but that its teachings were rejected and were temporarily replaced with what we now call Judaism, to be restored at the coming of the Messiah. Others believe that Christianity actually originated in Judea, at the end of the 1st century A.D., as a radically reformed branch of Judaism (see Early Christianity). Regardless, the Christianity of the common era spread to ancient Greece and Rome, and from there to most of Europe, Asia, the Americas, and many other parts of the world. Over the centuries, Christianity split into many separate churches and denominations. A major split in the 5th century separated various Oriental Churches from the Catholic church centered in Rome. Other major splits were the East-West Schism in the 11th century, separating the Roman Catholic Church from the Eastern Orthodox Churches; and the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, that gave birth to hundreds of independent Protestant denominations. Islam originated in the 7th century, in the Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina. Although not a dissident branch of either Judaism or Christianity, Muslims believe it to be a continuation of and replacement for them. The Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, held itself to be the final word of God and its message was that of all the prophets. As an example of the similarities between the faiths, Muslims believe in a version of the story of Genesis and in the lineal descent of the Arabs

from Abraham through Ishmael, who was conceived through Abraham's servant Hagar. The Druze of northern Israel and southern Lebanon hold to an Abrahamic faith of the Noachide covenant through their ancestor Yitro (Jethro), the father-in-law of Moshe (Moses) (Judaism's greatest prophet). However, its origins are Islamic, developing out of the belief of some Ismaili Shi`a Arab tribes that the Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah was an incarnation of God. Mormonism developed in the United States in the 19th century, and comes from an indisputably Abrahamic religious lineage, developing out of the various Protestant Christian denominations of the time. However, its position in the tradition is disputed by some: many Christians argue that Mormonism has departed from the true Abrahamic roots, while some argue that Mormonism is merely an unusually radical sect of Christianity.

[edit] The significance of Abraham

For Jews he is primarily a revered ancestor or Patriarch (referred to as "Our Father Abraham") to whom God made several promises: that he would have numberless descendants, and that they would receive the land of Canaan (the "Promised Land"). Somewhat less divisively, according to Jewish tradition, Abraham was the first post-flood person to reject idolatry through rational analysis. (Shem and Eber carried on the Tradition from Noah), hence he symbolically appears as a fundamental figure for monotheistic religion. For Christians, Abraham is a spiritual forebear rather than a direct ancestor.[5] For example, Christian iconography depicts him as an early witness to the Trinity in the form of three "angels" who visited him (the Hospitality of Abraham). In Christian belief, Abraham is a model of faith,[6] and his intention to obey God by offering up Isaac is seen as a foreshadowing of God's offering of his son, Jesus.[7] A longstanding tendency of Christian commentators is to interpret God's promises to Abraham, as applying to Christianity (the "True Israel") rather than Judaism (whose representatives rejected Christ). See also New Covenant. In Islam, Ibrahim is considered one of a line of prophets beginning with Adam (Genesis 20:7 also calls him a "prophet") and extending down to Muhammad, as well as the "first Muslim" i.e., the first monotheist in a world where monotheism was lost. He is also referred to in Islam as or "Our Father Abraham", as well as Ibrahim al-Hanif or Abraham the Monotheist. Islam holds that it was Ishmael (Isma'il) (Muhammad's ancestor) rather than Isaac whom Ibrahim was instructed to sacrifice. In addition to this spiritual lineage, the northern Adnani Arab tribes trace their lineage to Isma'il (and thus to Abraham).

[edit] Origins

11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum Judaism had its origins in the Canaanite/Israelite culture of the late 2nd and early 1st millenia BC. Israelite culture was Canaanite in origin, sharing with other West Semitic cultures a common pantheon made up of gods including El, Asherah and Baal, as well as the worship of solar and lunar deities and ancestors and common practices including necromancy and child sacrifice. Yahweh originated as a war-god in Edom/Midian, and was gradually assimilated into the highland Canaanite pantheon. This process was marked by two major phases: In the period of the Judges and the early monarchy, convergence saw the coalescence of the qualities of other deities, and even the deities themselves, into Yahweh: Thus El became identified as a name of Yaweh, Asherah ceased to be a distinct goddess, and qualities of El, Asherah and Baal (notably, for Baal, his identification as a storm-god) were assimilated into Yahweh. In the period from the 9th century BC through to the Exile certain features of the Israelite religion were differentiated from the Yahweh cult, identified as Canaanite, and rejected: examples include Baal, child sacrifice, the asherah, worship of the sun and moon, and the cults of the "high places". The driving forces in this process were the royal household of Judah, which identified Yaweh as their tutelary deity, and the prophetic schools of the north. The religious reforms of Josiah, dated by the bible to around 622 BC, and apparently a reaction to the political crisis through which Judah was then passing, marked the decisive step from henotheism to Yahweh-centred monolatry (the insistence on the exclusive worship of one patron god for Israel, without denying the existence of other gods); the development of full-blown monotheism, the concept that yahweh was god not just of Israel but of the world, is more difficult to date, but seems to have developed during the Exilic and post-Exilic periods, in the hands of the Yahwist priesthood. Judaism's originsalong with those of the ancestral Abrahamic religionare still obscure. The only source generally agreed by all to be canonical that bears on that question is the Genesis book of the Hebrew Bible, which according to Rabbinic tradition was written by God and received by Moses after the Exodus from Egypt, sometime in the 2nd millennium BC. (Other, newer movementssuch as Reform Judaism and Secular Humanismbelieve perhaps Moses and certainly others wrote the Bible over a period of

time themselves.) According to Genesis, the principles of Judaism were revealed gradually to a line of patriarchs from Adam to Jacob (also called Israel); however the Judaic religion was only established when Moses received the Commandments on Mount Sinai, and with the organization of its priesthood and institution of its temple services. Archaeologists so far have found no direct evidence to support or refute the Genesis story on the origins of Judaism; in fact, there are no surviving texts of the Hebrew Bible older than the Dead Sea Scrolls (2nd century BC or later). However, archaeology has shown that peoples speaking various Semitic languages and with similar polytheistic religions were living in Canaan and surrounding areas by the 3rd millennium BC. Some of their gods (such as Baal) are mentioned in the Bible, and the supreme god of the Semitic pantheon, El, is believed by some scholars to be the God of the Biblical patriarchs. For example, El is a common segment in Hebrew names, such as Daniel, Ezekiel, Elijah, etc. (See also, List of names referring to El.) There exist a number of inscriptions that some scholars believe to confirm the Biblical record, such as the Tel Dan Stele. One school of thought, Sigmund Freud and Ahmed Osman being among the proponents, asserts that historically, Abrahamic monotheism began with Akhenaten, the "heretical" pharaoh of Egypt who, in the fourteenth century BCE, founded the world's first (quasi-)monotheistic religions devoted to the sun disk, or Aten. Egyptologist Jan Assmann has argued that monotheism entered Abrahamic thought through a process of traumatic memory of this episode of Egyptian religious history. There is also a school of thought that credits the religion known as Zoroastrianism for its influence of Abrahamic religions in the concepts of individual judgment (free will), Heaven and Hell, the future resurrection of the body, the general Last Judgment, and life everlasting for the reunited soul and body (Mary Boyce, Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979).

[edit] Patriarchs
There are six notable figures in the Bible prior to Abraham: Adam and Eve, their two sons Cain and Abel, Enoch, and his great-grandson, Noah, who, according to the story, saved his own family and all animal life in Noah's Ark. It is uncertain whether any of them (assuming they existed) left any recorded moral code: some Christian churches maintain faith in ancient books like the Book of Enoch and Genesis mentions the Noahide Laws given by God to the family of Noah. For the most part, these 'patriarchs' serve as good (or bad, in the case of Cain) role models of behavior, without a more specific indication of how one interprets their actions in any religion. In the Book of Genesis, Abraham is specifically instructed to leave Ur of the Chaldees so that God will "make of you a great nation". Burton Visotzky, an ethicist, wrote Genesis of Ethics to explore the detailed implications of these adventures for a modern ethics. According to the Bible, the patriarch Abraham (or Ibrahim, in Arabic) had eight sons by three wives: one (Ishmael) by his wife's servant Hagar, one (Isaac) by his wife Sarah, and

six by another wife Keturah. Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Bah'u'llh and other prominent figures are all claimed to be descendants of Abraham through one of these sons. Jews see Abraham as the progenitor of the people of Israel, through his descendants Isaac and Jacob. Christians view Abraham as an important exemplar of faith, and a spiritual, as well as a physical, ancestor of Jesus a Jew considered the Son of God through whom God promised to bless all the families of the earth. In addition, Muslims refer to Sabians, Christians and Jews as People of the Book ("the Book" referring to the Tanakh, the New Testament, and the Qur'an). They see Abraham as one of the most important of the many prophets sent by God. Thus Abraham represents for some, a point of commonality whom they seek to emphasize by means of this terminology. So, rather than being the sole "founding figure", Abraham is described as the first figure in Genesis who (a) is clearly not of direct divine origin, such as Adam and Eve are claimed to be; (b) is accepted by three major monotheistic faiths as playing some major role in the founding of their common civilization; and (c) is not claimed as the male genetic forebear of all humans on the Earth (as Noah is, in more literal interpretations). Judaism treats Adam and Noah as minor prophets, while, along with Islam, it recognizes that there were possibly other prophets who are unknown today.

[edit] The Supreme Deity

Main articles: Tetragrammaton, Trinity, and Allah Islam and Judaism worship a Supreme Deity which they conceive strictly monotheistically as one being; Christianity agrees, but the Christian god is at the same time (according to most of mainstream Christianity) an indivisible Trinity, a view not shared by the other religions. A sizable minority of Christians and Christian denominations do not support the belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, and sometimes suggest that the Trinity idea was founded in Roman religious culture, specifically suggesting that it was formulated due to Rome's absorption of elements of Zoroastrian and Pagan ideology as part of their homogenized culture, and was not part of the original, primitive Christianity.

[edit] Judaism
Further information: Judaism

The Shield of David (or Magen David) is a generally recognized symbol of Jewish Community and Judaism. Jewish theology is based on the Hebrew Bible, where the nature and commandments of God are revealed through the writings of Moses, the Torah, and the writings of the prophets, psalmists and other ancient canonized scriptures, together with the Torah known as the Tanakh. Additionally, it usually has a basis in its Oral Law, as recorded in the Mishnah and Gemora which form the Talmud. This Supreme Being is referred to in the Hebrew Bible in several ways, such as Elohim, Adonai or by the four Hebrew letters "Y-H-V (or W) -H" (the tetragrammaton), which observant Jews do not pronounce as a word. The Hebrew words Eloheynu (Our God) and HaShem (The Name), as well as the English names "Lord" and "God", are also used in modern day Judaism. The latter is sometimes written "G-d" in reference to the taboo against pronouncing the tetragrammaton. The word "Elohim" has the Hebrew plural ending "-m", which some Biblical scholars have taken as support for the general notion that the ancient Hebrews were polytheists in the time of the patriarchs; however, as the word itself is used with singular verbs, this hypothesis is not accepted by most Jews. Jews point out other words in Hebrew that are used in the same manner according to the rule of Hebrew Grammar, and denotes respect, majesty and deliberation, similar to the royal plural in English and ancient Egyptian, and the use of the plural form "vous" for individuals of higher standing in modern French. Jewish Biblical scholars and historical commentary on the passage also suggest that Elohim in the plural form points to God in conjunction with the heavenly court, i.e. the angels. The pre-Christian era and early CE period Kabbalistic and later in the European Chasidic movements after the Baal Shem Tov, such as Breslov and Chabad, all point to the use of Elokim as denoting the multidimensional existence of God on, in, and through every possible dimension of the created existence. See Likutei Moharan and the Tanya, as well as the Zohar, Bahir, and the Kabbalistic texts of Sefer Yitzirah, Sefer Refayim, and Sefer Malachim, to name a few. Including the writings of the Ramchal (R. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto), Drech HaShem and others such as the Rashbi (R. Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar) all explain the use of the Elokim as a pluralistic singularity, one essence sustaining all levels of creation from the mundane physical to the sublime and Holy spiritual.

[edit] Christianity
Further information: Christianity

The Christian cross is the best-known religious symbol of Christianity. Christians believe that the god worshipped by the faithful Hebrew people of the preChristian era has always revealed himself as he did through Jesus; but this was never obvious until the Word of the Lord, the revelation of God, became flesh and dwelt among us (see John 1). Also, despite the fact that the Angel of the Lord spoke to the Patriarchs, revealing God to them, it has always been only by the Spirit of God granting them understanding, that men have been able to perceive afterward that they had been visited by God himself. After Jesus was raised from the deadaccording to Christian scriptures this ancient Hebrew witness of how God reveals himself as Messiah came to be seen in a very different light. It was then that Jesus' followers began to speak widely of him as God himself (see John 20:28), although this had already been revealed to certain individuals during his Ministry, for example, the Samaritan woman in Shechem, and his closest apostles. This belief was gradually developed into the modern formulation of the Trinity, which is the doctrine that God is a single entity (YHWH), but that there is a real threeness in God's single being that has always been evident but not understood. This mysterious threeness has been described as, for want of better terms, hypostases in the Greek language (subsistences), and as "persons" in English. In the traditional Christian conception, God the Father has only ever been revealed through his eternal Word (who was born as Jesus, of the Virgin Mary), and his Spirit (who after the resurrection was given to men, establishing the Christian church).

[edit] Islam
Further information: Islam

Symbol of Islam, the name of Allah. Allah is the standard Arabic translation for the word "God." Islamic tradition also describes the 99 names of God. These 99 names describe attributes of God, including Most Merciful, Most Just, and The Peace and Blessing, and the Guardian. Islamic belief in God is distinct in that it accepts no partners or progeny of God. This belief is summed up in the Qur'anic chapter of Al-Ikhlas, which states "God is One, He is the Eternal, the Absolute. He does not beget nor was he begotten. And there is none like Him." See also: Islamic concept of God

Muslims believe that the Jewish god is the same as their god and that Jesus is a divinely inspired prophet, but not God. Thus, both the Torah and the Gospels are believed to be based upon divine revelation, but Muslims believe them to have been corrupted (both accidentally through errors in transmission and intentionally by Jews and Christians over the centuries). Muslims revere the Qur'an as the final uncorrupted word of God or the last testament brought through the last prophet, Muhammad. Muhammad is regarded as the "Seal of the Prophets" and Islam is viewed as the final monotheist faith for all of humanity.

[edit] Bah' Faith

Main article: Bah' Faith

Nine Pointed Star, symbolic of the number nine, a holy number in the Baha'i Faith. The belief in the Oneness of God is central to the Bah' Faith. According to Bah' doctrine, God is one being, and has created all the creatures and forces in the universe. He is also imagined by Bah's as omnipotent and omniscient. Bah's believe that God sends his messengers to educate humanity. These messengers are known in Bah' literature as "Manifestations of God," the most recent of whom Bah's believe was Bah'u'llh. According to Bah' doctrine, these Manifestations reveal the nature and will of God in their teachings and through sacred texts, which (for Bah's) include the Torah, the Bible, the Qur'n, the Bayan, the Kitb-i-Aqdas and the Book of Certitude, Hindu, Zoroastrian and Buddhist scriptures. Bah's maintain that the older texts contain allegories that should be interpreted in view of the most recent (and most perfect) revelations. However, Bah' doctrine teaches that the Supreme Deity is too great to be fully understood by humans.

[edit] Religious scriptures

All these religions rely on a body of scriptures, some of which are considered to be the word of God hence sacred and unquestionable and some the work of religious men, revered mainly by tradition and to the extent that they are considered to have been divinely inspired, if not dictated, by the divine being.

[edit] Judaism

Main article: Tanakh The sacred scriptures of Judaism are the Tanakh, a Hebrew acronym that stands for Torah (Law or Teachings), Nevi'im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). These are complemented by and supplemented with various originally oral traditions: Midrash, the Mishnah, the Talmud, and collected rabbinical writings. The Hebrew text of the Tanakh, and the Torah in particular, is considered holy, down to the last letter: transcribing is done with painstaking care. An error in a single letter, ornamentation or symbol of the over 300,000 stylized letters which make up the Hebrew Torah text renders a Torah scroll unfit for use, hence a Torah scribe is a specialist skill and takes considerable time to write and check.

[edit] Christianity
Main articles: Old Testament and New Testament The sacred scriptures of most Christian groups are the Old Testament, which is largely the same as the Hebrew Bible, and the New Testament, which comprises four accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus (the Four Gospels, traditionally attributed to his apostles Matthew and John and to Mark the Evangelist and Luke the Evangelist) and several writings by the apostles and early Fathers such as Paul. They are usually considered to be divinely inspired in some sense and together comprise the Christian Bible. Thus Christians consider the fundamental teachings of the Old Testament, in particular the Ten Commandments, as valid. However, they believe that the coming of Jesus as the messiah and savior of mankind as predicted in the Old Testament would shed light on the true relationship between God and mankind by restoring the emphasis of universal love and compassion (as mentioned in the Shema) above the other commandments, also deemphasising the more "legalistic" and material precepts of Mosaic Law (such as the dietary constraints and temple rites). Some Christians believe that the link between Old and New Testaments in the Bible means that Judaism has been superseded by Christianity as the "new Israel," and that Jesus' teachings described Israel not as a geographic place but as an association with God and promise of salvation in heaven.

A Bible handwritten in Latin, on display in Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, England. This Bible was transcribed in Belgium in 1407 for reading aloud in a monastery.

The vast majority of Christian faiths (generally including Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Anglicans and most forms of Protestantism, but not Restorationism) derive their beliefs from the conclusions reached by the First Council of Nicaea in 325, in a document known as the Nicene Creed. This describes the beliefs that God (as a Trinity of distinct persons with one substance) became human on earth, born as Jesus pursuant to the Old Testament scriptures, was crucified by humanity, died and was buried, only to be resurrected on the third day to rise and enter the Kingdom of Heaven and "sit at the right hand of" God. Christians generally believe that faith in Jesus is the only way to achieve salvation and to enter into heaven, and that salvation is a gift given by the grace of God. Christians recognize that the Gospels were passed on by oral tradition only to be set to paper decades after the death of Jesus, and that the extant versions are copies of those originals. Indeed, the version of the Bible considered to be most valid (in the sense of best conveying the true meaning of the word of God) has varied considerably: the Greek Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, the English King James Version, and the Russian Synodal Bible have been authoritative to different communities at different times. In particular, Christians usually consult the Hebrew version of the Old Testament when preparing new translations, although some believe that the Septuagint should be preferred, as it was the Bible of the Early Christian Church, and because they believe its translators used a different Hebrew bible to the ones that make up the current Masoretic Hebrew text as there are some variant readings of the Dead Sea Scrolls that are confirmed by the Septuagint. In the same sense that the Jewish mystics viewed the Torah as something living and existing prior to any written text, so too do Christians view the Bible and Jesus himself as God's "Word" (or logos in Greek), that transcends written documents. The sacred scriptures of the Christian Bible are complemented by a large body of writings by individual Christians and councils of Christian leaders. Some Christian churches and denominations consider certain additional writings to be binding; other Christian groups consider only the Bible to be binding.

[edit] Islam

"Muhammad" in a new genre of Islamic calligraphy started in the 17th century by Hafiz Osman.[8] Main articles: Qur'an and Origin and development of the Qur'an Islam's holiest book is the Qur'an, comprising 114 suras ("chapters of the Qur'an."). However, Muslims also believe in the religious texts of Judaism and Christianity in their original forms and not the current versions which they believe to be corrupted. According

to the Qur'an (and mainstream Muslim belief) the verses of the Quran were revealed from God through the Archangel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad on separate occasions. These revelations were written down during Muhammad's lifetime and collected into one official copy in 633 AD, one year after his death. Finally the Quran was given its present order in 653 AD by the third Caliph. The Qur'an mentions and reveres several of the Israelite Prophets, including Jesus, among others (see also: Prophets of Islam). The stories of these Prophets are very similar to those in the Bible. However the detailed precepts of the Tanakh and the New Testament are not adopted outright; they are replaced by the new commandments revealed directly by God (through Gabriel) to Muhammad and codified in the Qur'an. Like the Jews with the Torah, Muslims consider the original Arabic text of the Qur'an as uncorrupted and holy to the last letter, and any translations are considered to be interpretations of the meaning of the Qur'an, as only the original Arabic text is considered to be the divine scripture. Like the Rabbinic Oral Law to the Hebrew Bible, the Qur'an is complemented by the Hadith, a set of books by later authors that record the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. The Hadith interpret and elaborate Qur'anic precepts. There is no consensus within Islam on the authority of the Hadith collections, but Islamic scholars have categorized each Hadith at one of the following levels of authenticity or isnad: genuine (sahih), fair (hasan), or weak (da'if). Amongst Shia Muslims, no hadith is regarded as Sahih, and hadith in general are only accepted if there is no disagreement with the Qur'an. By the ninth century, six collections of Hadiths were accepted as reliable to Sunni Muslims. Shia Muslims however, refer to an alternate tradition of authenticated Hadiths. The Sunni Collections:

al-Bukhari (d. 870) Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (d. 875) Abu Da'ud (d. 888) al-Tirmidhi (d. 892) al-Nasa'i (d. 915) Ibn Maja (d. 886).

The Hadith and the life story of Muhammad (sira) form the Sunnah, a scriptural supplement to the Qur'an. The legal opinions of Islamic jurists (fiqh) provides another source for the daily practice and interpretation of Islamic tradition. The Qur'an has repeated references to the 'religion of Abraham' (see Suras 2:130,135; 3:95; 6:123,161; 12:38; 16:123; 22:78). In the Qur'an this expression refers specifically to Islam, sometimes in contrast to Christianity and Judaism, as for example in Sura 2:135: "They say: "Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation)." Say thou: "Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with

God." In the Qur'an Abraham is declared to have been a Muslim (a hanif), 'not a Jew nor a Christian' (Sura 3:67).

[edit] Rastafari movement

Some Rastafarians use the King James Version of the Bible as their main scripture, while many others disdain it. A great many nowadays make special efforts to study the Orthodox Amharic version. Rastas often claim that the Bible only has half of God's Word, and that the other half is written in the heart of mankind. The teachings of Marcus Garvey and the Holy Piby are among other important documents, as are the writings and speeches of Emperor Haile Selassie I.

[edit] The coming

Main article: Millennialism In the major Abrahamic religions, there exists the expectation of an individual who will herald the time of the end, and/or bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth, in other words the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy. Judaism awaits the coming of the Jewish Messiah (the Jewish concept of Messiah differs from the Christian concept in several significant ways despite the same term being applied to both). The Jewish Messiah is not a "god" but a mortal man who by his holiness is worthy of that description, he will make his appearance only during an era of peace and holiness and his coming may not end history. Christianity awaits the Second Coming of Christ. Islam awaits both the second coming of Jesus (in order to complete his life and die, since he is said to have been risen alive and not crucified) and the coming of Mahdi (Sunnis in his first incarnation, Shi'as the return of Muhammad al-Mahdi). The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes that both Mahdi and Second Coming of Christ were fulfilled in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Conversely, members of the Bah' Faith believe that these were fulfilled in the persons of Bb and Bah'u'llh. Rastafari awaits the return of Haile Selassie.

[edit] Afterlife
Most Abrahamic religions agree that a human being comprises the body, which dies, and the soul, which need not do so. The soul, capable of remaining alive beyond human death, carries the essence of that person with it, and God will judge that person's life accordingly after they die. The importance of this, the focus on it, and the precise criteria and end result differs between religions. Reincarnation and transmigration tend not to feature prominently in Abrahamic religions. Although as a rule they all look to some form of afterlife, Christianity and Islam support a continuation of life, usually viewed as eternal, rather than reincarnation and transmigration which are a return (or repeated returns) to this Earth or some other plane to live a complete new life cycle over again. Kabbalic Judaism, however, accepts the concept of returning in new births through a process called gilgul neshamot, but this is

not Torah-derived, and is usually studied only among scholars and mystics within the faith. It is a mainstream belief of Hassidic Jews and many Orthodox Jews.

[edit] Judaism
Main article: Olam Haba Judaism's views on the afterlife ("the World to Come") are quite diverse and its discussion is not encouraged. This can be attributed to the fact that even though there clearly are traditions in the Hebrew Bible of an afterlife (see Naboth and the Witch of Endor), Judaism focuses on this life and how to lead a holy life to please God, rather than future reward, and its attitude can be mostly summed up by the rabbinical observation that at the start of Genesis God clothed the naked (Adam and Eve), at the end of Deuteronomy he buried the dead (Moses), the Children of Israel mourned for 40 days, then got on with their lives. Many feel that there is some sort of afterlife, maybe a return of the soul to God, some say that there is some sort of reward for the righteous in Gan 'Edhen (the Garden of Eden) and (less agreed upon) punishment in Ge-Hinnom. Popularly it is claimed that the maximum time of punishment for all but the most evil is one year. The mystically inclined also claim the souls (or sparks of souls) may be reincarnated, through Gilgul. If there is an afterlife all agree in Judaism that the good of all the nations will get to heaven and this is one of the reasons Judaism does not normally proselytize.

[edit] Islam
In Islam, God is said to be "Most Compassionate and Most Merciful" (Quran 1:1, as well as the start of most suras). However, God is also "Most Just"; Islam prescribes a literal Hell for those who disobey God and commit gross sin. Those who obey God and submit to God will be rewarded with their own place in Paradise. While sinners are punished with fire, there are also many other forms of punishment described, depending on the sin committed; Hell is divided into numerous levels, an idea that found its way into Christian literature through Dante's borrowing of Muslim themes and tropes for his Inferno. Those who worship and remember God are promised eternal abode in a physical and spiritual Paradise. In Islam, Heaven is divided into numerous levels, with the higher levels of Paradise being the reward of those who have been more virtuous, For example, the highest levels might contain the Prophets, those killed for believing, those who help orphans, and those who never tell a lie (among numerous other categories cited in the Qur'an and Hadith). Upon repentance to God, many sins can be forgiven as God is said to be supremely merciful. Additionally, those who ultimately believe in God, but have led sinful lives, may be punished for a time, and then ultimately released into Paradise. If anyone dies in a state of Shirk (the association God in any way, such as claiming that he is equal with anything or worshiping other than him), then it is possible he will stay forever in Hell;

however, it is said that anyone with "one atom of faith" will eventually reach Heaven, and Muslim literature also records reference to even the greatly sinful, Muslim and otherwise, eventually being pardoned and released into Paradise. Once a person is admitted to Paradise, this person will abide there for eternity.

[edit] Bah' Faith

The Bah' Faith regards as symbolic the conventional description of the afterlife (heaven and hell) as a specific place.[9] Instead the Bah' writings describe heaven as a "spiritual condition" where closeness to God is defined as heaven; conversely hell is seen as a state of remoteness from God.[9] Bah'u'llh, the founder of the Bah' Faith, has stated that the nature of the life of the soul in the afterlife is beyond comprehension in the physical plane,[9] but has stated that the soul will retain its consciousness and individuality and remember its physical life; the soul will be able to recognize other souls and communicate with them.[9] For Bah's, entry into the next life has the potential to bring great joy.[9] Bah'u'llh likened death to the process of birth. He explains: "The world beyond is as different from this world as this world is different from that of the child while still in the womb of its mother."[10] The analogy to the womb in many ways summarizes the Bah' view of earthly existence: just as the womb constitutes an important place for a person's initial physical development, the physical world provides for the development of the individual soul. Accordingly, Bah's view life as a preparatory stage, where one can develop and perfect those qualities which will be needed in the next life.[9] The key to spiritual progress is to follow the path outlined by the current Manifestations of God, which Bah's believe is currently Bah'u'llh. The Bah' teachings state that there exists a hierarchy of souls in the afterlife, where the merits of each soul determines their place in the hierarchy, and that souls lower in the hierarchy cannot completely understand the station of those above.[9] Each soul can continue to progress in the afterlife, however the soul's development is not dependent on its own conscious efforts, but instead on the grace of God, the prayers of others, and good deeds performed by others on Earth in the name of the person.[9]

[edit] Worship
Worship, ceremonies, and religion-related customs differ substantially between the various Abrahamic religions. Among the few similarities are a seven-day cycle in which one day is nominally reserved for worship, prayer, or other religious activities; this custom is related to the biblical story of Genesis, where God created the universe in six days, and rested in the seventh. Islam, which has Friday as a day for special congregational prayers, does not subscribe to the 'resting day' concept. Jewish men are required to pray three times daily and four times daily on the Sabbath and most Jewish holidays, and five times on Yom Kippur. Before the destruction of the

Temple, Jewish priests offered sacrifices there; afterwards, the practice was stopped. Jewish women's prayer obligations vary by sect; traditionally (according to Torah Judaism), women do not read from the Torah and are only required to say certain parts of these services twice daily. Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and the Reconstructionist movement have different views. Christianity does not have any sacrificial rites as such, but its entire theology is based upon the concept of the sacrifice by God of his son Jesus so that his blood might atone for mankind's sins. However, offerings to Christian Churches and charity to poor are highly encouraged and take the place of sacrifice. Additionally, self-sacrifice in the form of lent, penitence and humbleness, in the name of Christ and according to his commandments (cf. Sermon on the Mount), is considered a form of sacrifice that appeals God. The followers of Islam, Muslims, are to observe the Five Pillars of Islam. The first pillar is the belief in the oneness of God and in Muhammad as his final prophet. The second is to pray five times daily (salat) towards the direction (qibla) of the Kaaba in Mecca. The third pillar is Zakah, is a portion of one's wealth that must be given to the poor or to other specified causes, which means the giving of a specific share of one's wealth and savings to persons or causes that God mentions in the Qur'an. The normal share to be paid is two and a half percent of one's saved earnings. Fasting during the Muslim month of Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam, to which only able-bodied Muslims are required to fast. Finally, Muslims are also urged to undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in one's life. Only individuals whose financial position and health are insufficient are exempt from making Hajj. During this pilgrimage, the Muslims spend several days in worship, repenting and most notably, circumambulating the Kaaba among millions of other Muslims. At the end of the Hajj, sheep and other permissible animals are slaughtered to commemorate the moment when God replaced Abraham's son, Ishmael with a sheep preventing his sacrifice. The meat from these animals is then distributed around the world to needy Muslims, neighbors and relatives. Baha'is do not have a strict worship regimen but do, however, follow guidelines for prayer passed on by Bah'u'llh and `Abdu'l-Bah. Baha'is are to perform ablutions before prayer and to recite at least one of three obligatory prayers (written by Bah'u'llh) daily. Prayer often takes the form of a a private activity during which Baha'is may choose to face the Qiblih (the Shrine of Bah'u'llh). Many Baha'is also host devotional meetings in their homes where prayers and holy writings are read, sung, chanted or recited. Baha'i Devotional meetings are commonly open to people of any faith. A Bah' pilgrimage was laid out by Bah'u'llh, but political conditions in Iraq and Iran prevent most Baha'is from visiting these locations. Originally, Baha'is were to visit either the House of Bah'u'llh in Baghdad or the House of the Bab in Shiraz, Iran. Currently, Baha'i references to 'pilgrimage' generally apply to a nine-day journey that visits Baha'i holy places in Haifa, Bahji, and Akka, Israel. It should also be noted that aside from prayer and pilgrimage, Baha'is put emphasis on grounding worship in daily life. Work is considered a form of honoring God as is scriptural study.

[edit] Circumcision

Main articles: Circumcision in the Bible and History of male circumcision Both Judaism and Islam prescribe circumcision for males as a token symbol of dedication to the religion. Islam also recommends this practice as a form of cleanliness. Western Christianity replaced that custom by a baptism ceremony that varies according to the denomination, but generally includes immersion, aspersion or anointment with water. Because of the decision of the Early Church (Acts 15, the Council of Jerusalem) that circumcision is not mandatory, it continues to be optional, though the Council of Florence[11] prohibited it and paragraph #2297 of the Catholic Catechism calls nonmedical amputation or mutilation immoral.[12][13] Many countries with majorities of Christian adherents have low circumcision rates (with the notable exception of the United States[1], and the Philippines). Coptic Christianity and Ethiopian Orthodoxy still observe circumcision. See also Aposthia.

[edit] Food restrictions

Main articles: kashrut, halaal, and ital Judaism and Islam have strict dietary laws, with lawful food being called kosher in Judaism and halaal in Islam. Both religions prohibit the consumption of pork; Islam also prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages of any kind. Halaal restrictions can be seen as a subset of the kashrut dietary laws, so many kosher foods are considered halaal; especially in the case of meat, which Islam prescribes must be slaughtered in the name of God, hence in Morocco muslims used to consume kosher food. Protestants have no set food laws. Catholic Christianity however developed ritual prohibitions against the consumption of meat (but not fish) on Fridays, and the Christian calendars prescribe abstinence from some foods at various times of the year; but these customs vary from place to place, and have changed over time, and some sects have nothing comparable. Some Christians oppose the consumption of alcoholic beverages, while a few Christians also follow a kosher diet, sometimes identified as a "What Would Jesus Eat?" diet.[citation needed] Some approaches to practice have developed in Protestant denominations, such as the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which strongly advise against certain foods and in some cases encourage vegetarianism or veganism. Adherents to the Bah' Faith are prohibited from drinking alcohol. They are also prohibited from using opiates and other recreational drugs, unless prescribed by a competent physician.

[edit] Sexuality in Abrahamic religions

It may be that a distinguishing characteristic of the Abrahamic religions is their generally negative stance on homosexuality and, in most cases, human sexuality in general, notably outside of marriage and in non-procreative contexts. This contrasts the Abrahamic traditions strongly against the backdrop of the views of their immediate neighbors. In the regions surrounding the geographical homelands of Abrahamic religions (i.e. the Near east and Aegean), sexuality was considered in a more positive light (positive in the sense

that it was not recommended by their Non-Abrahamic religions to legislate death punishments for the practices of homosexuality or prostitution.) It seems to be a mark among some versions of the rise of Abrahamic traditions that all sexuality was eliminated from the concept of the divine. Notable exceptions include Judaism (i.e. Song of Songs, Kabbalah, Hassidism), and within Islam. By the time of the triumph of Christianity, in the late 4th century AD this was generally true throughout the realms of the declining Roman Empire. For example, within territories where Christianity and Judaism held political power the presence of femininity in local deities as well as the Godhead was eliminated. Contrastingly, the Non-Abrahamic religions accepted female high-priestesses. They also believed in the existence of many powerful female divinities like Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, and Isis, who was worshipped as the archetypal wife and mother. In general Abrahamic Religions negate the possibility of sexual openness with respect to the divine nature.

[edit] Homosexuality
Many of the sacred texts of the Abrahamic Religions refer to homosexual behavior as an abomination, deriving from the Holiness Code of the book of Leviticus and an interpretation of the legend of Sodom and Gomorrah. By the first century, the writings of Philo Judaeus and Flavius Josephus evolved it into a fully developed form. Thus the condemnation of homosexuality in all Abrahamic religions has a single Old Testament source in addition to any separate reference in other holy books. While the Abrahamic religions unequivocally condemn male homosexuality, lesbianism is nowhere explicitly mentioned in the Old Testament or the Qur'an. However some scholars have argued the passage in Romans 1:26-27, "...God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly," is a New Testament reference to it. The enforcement of this prohibition took different forms in each religion. Early Judaism referenced Leviticus and later Talmudic law in prescribing the death penalty. However, high legal hurdles, such as requiring two witnesses of the act following a previous warning by at least two people, made executions extremely rare. Early Christian emperors also advocated the death penalty: Theodosius I ordained death by the sword, and the Byzantine emperor Justinian, in his summary on Roman law, prescribed burning at the stake. Islamic jurists prescribe a death by stoning or crushing with a wall; however, this specific form of punishment has almost never been enforced.

[edit] Proselytism

The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch. Christianity encourages evangelism, as Jesus did convincing others to convert to the religion; many Christian organizations, especially Protestant churches, send missionaries to non-Christian communities throughout the world. See also Great Commission. Forced conversions to Catholicism have been documented at various points throughout history. The most prominently cited allegations are the conversions of the pagans after Constantine; of Muslims, Jews and Eastern Orthodox during the Crusades; of Jews and Muslims during the time of the Spanish Inquisition where they were offered the choice exile, conversion or death; and of the Aztecs by Hernan Cortes. Many Hindutva organizations in India allege that some Christian missionaries in India are converting the illiterate Dalits (the so-called low castes of the Hindus) by "fraudulent means" (sic). Forced conversions are condemned as sinful by major denominations such as the Roman Catholic Church, which officially state that forced conversions pollute the Christian religion and offend human dignity, so that past or present offenses are regarded as a scandal (a cause of unbelief).[14] W. Heffening states that in Qur'an "the apostate is threatened with punishment in the next world only" however "in traditions, there is little echo of these punishments in the next world ... and instead, we have in many traditions a new element, the death penalty."[15] Heffening states that Shafi'is interpret verse 2:217 as adducing the main evidence for the death penalty in Qur'an. The Qur'an has a chapter (Sura) dealing with non believers (called "Al-Kafiroon") (Q 109). In the chapter there is also an often quoted verse (ayat) which reads, "There is no compulsion in religion, the path of guidance stands out clear from error" [2:256] and [60:8]. This means that no one is to be compelled into Islam and that the righteous path is distinct from the rest. According to this verse, converts to Islam are ones that see this path. The Muslim expansion during the Ummayad dynasty held true to this teaching, imposing Jizya (defense tax) and affording second-class citizenship to People of the Book instead of forced conversion. Nevertheless, it should be noted that pagan Arab tribes were given the choice of "Islam or the sword."[16] Another notable exception is the en masse forced conversion of the Jews of Mashhad in 1839.[17] In the present day, Islam does not have missionaries comparable to Christianity, though it does encourage its followers to learn about other religions and to teach others about Islam. While Judaism accepts converts, it does not encourage them, and has no missionaries as such. However Judaism states that non-Jews can achieve righteousness by following

Noahide Laws, a set of seven universal commandments that non-Jews are expected to follow. In this context the Rambam (Rabbi Moses Maimonides, one of the major Jewish teachers) commented, "Quoting from our sages, the righteous people from other nations have a place in the world to come, if they have acquired what they should learn about the Creator." Because the commandments applicable to the Jews are much more detailed and onerous than Noahide laws, Jewish scholars have traditionally maintained that it is better to be a good non-Jew than a bad Jew, thus discouraging conversion. Most often, converts to Judaism are those who marry Jews; in the United States, the number of such converts is estimated at 10,000-15,000 per year. See also Conversion to Judaism. The Bah' Faith puts special emphasis on not proselytizing. It is actually prohibited. Baha'is do accept converts from all religious and ethnic backgrounds and actively support personal investigation into faith. Baha'is have special "pioneers" and "traveling teachers" that will move to areas where Baha'i communities are small to help strengthen and expand them. Believers of other faiths are held in high regard and seen in many ways as spiritual equals. While Baha'is view the Baha'i laws and revelation as unique, they do not discourage believers of other faiths in their spiritual endeavors and are leaders of interfaith efforts.

[edit] See also

Christianity Portal Islam Portal Judaism Portal

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[edit] Notes
1. ^ a b J.Z.Smith 1998, p.276 2. ^ a b Anidjar 2001, p.3 3. ^ Why Abrahamic? Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions at the University of Wisconsin 4. ^ Preston Hunter, Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents 5. ^ Romans 4:9-12 6. ^ Hebrews 11:8-10 7. ^ MacArhur, John (1996). The MacArthur New Testament Commentary : Romans. Chicago: Moody Press, 505. 8. ^ Ali, Wijdan. "From the Literal to the Spiritual: The Development of Prophet Muhammad's Portrayal from 13th Century Ilkhanid Miniatures to 17th century Ottoman Art". In Proceedings of the 11th International Congress of Turkish Art, eds. M. Kiel, N. Landman, and H. Theunissen. No. 7, 124. Utrecht, The Netherlands, August 23-28, 1999, p. 7 9. ^ a b c d e f g h Masumian 1995 10. ^ Bah'u'llh (1976). Gleanings from the Writings of Bah'u'llh. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bah' Publishing Trust, pp. 157. ISBN 0-87743-187-6. 11. ^ Ecumenical Council of Florence (1438-1445). The Circumcision Reference Library. Retrieved on 2007-07-10. 12. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church: Article 5 The Fifth commandment. Christus Rex et Redemptor Mundi. Retrieved on 2007-07-10. 13. ^ Father John Dietzen. The Morality of Circumcision. The Circumcision Reference Library. Retrieved on 2007-07-10. 14. ^ Pope Paul VI (December 7, 1965). Declaration on Religious Freedom. The Holy See. Retrieved on 2007-07-10. It is one of the major tenets of Catholic doctrine that man's response to God in faith must be free: no one therefore is to be forced to embrace the Christian faith against his own will. 15. ^ W. Heffening, in Encyclopedia of Islam 16. ^ Watt, Montgomery. "A Historical Overview." Introduction to World Religions. Ed. Christopher Partridge. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005. 360. 17. ^ Patai, Raphael (1997). Jadid al-Islam: The Jewish "New Muslims" of Meshhed. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2652-8.

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[edit] Bibliography
Assmann, J. (1997) Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism. Harvard University Press. "Once More, Once More: Derrida, the Jew, the Arab" by Gil Anidjar, introduction to: Derrida, Jacques (2001). in Gil Anidjar: Acts of Religion. New York & London: Routledge, 436. ISBN 0-415-92400-6/0-415-92401-4. Masumian, Farnaz (1995). Life After Death: A study of the afterlife in world religions. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1-85168-074-8. Religion, Religions, Religious, essay by Jonathan Z. Smith, published in book: [1998] "fifteen", in Mark C. Taylor: Critical Terms for Religious Studies. University of Chicago Press, 430. ISBN 978-0226791562. Johansson, Warren Abrahamic Religions. Encyclopedia of Homosexuality (Dynes, Wayne R., ed.) Garland Publishing, 1990. pp. 5&6. Ask Rabbi Simmons Jack Goody (1986) The Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society

[edit] External links

What's Next? Heaven, hell, and salvation in major world religions A side-by-side comparison of different religion's views from Beliefnet. The Abrahamic Faiths: A Comparison How do Judaism, Christianity, and Islam differ? More from Beliefnet [hide]


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Race (classification of human beings) Race and genetics o Human genetic variation Historical definitions Race and health Race and intelligence

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See also: List of racism-related topics and Racism by country Racism has many definitions, the most common and widely accepted being that members of one race are intrinsically superior or inferior to members of other races.



1 Definitions o 1.1 Legal definition o 1.2 Sociological definitions o 1.3 Race: social construct or genetic reality? o 1.4 Ideology 2 Racial discrimination o 2.1 Institutional racism o 2.2 Economics and racism o 2.3 Declarations against racial discrimination 3 Ethnic nationalism o 3.1 Ethnic conflicts 4 Scientific racism o 4.1 Heredity, "degeneration" and eugenics o 4.2 Polygenism and racial typologies o 4.3 Academic racism o 4.4 Human Zoos 5 Racism and colonialism in the nineteenth century 6 State-sponsored racism 7 Racism in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance o 7.1 During the Age of Enlightenment 8 Racism by country 9 Interminority racism 10 Bibliography 11 See also 12 External links 13 Notes

[edit] Definitions
While 'racism' most commonly denotes race-based prejudice, violence, or oppression, the term can also have varying and hotly contested definitions. 'Racialism' is a related term intended to avoid these negative meanings. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, racism is a belief or ideology that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially to distinguish it as being either superior or inferior to another race or races. The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines racism as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race, and that it is also the prejudice based on such a belief.[1] The Macquarie Dictionary defines racism thus: the belief that human races have distinctive characteristics which determine their respective

cultures, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule or dominate others.

[edit] Legal definition According to UN International Conventions, "the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life." [1] This definition does not make any difference between prosecutions based on ethnicity and race, in part because the distinction between the ethnicity and race remains debatable among anthropologists[2] According to British law, racial group means "any group of people who are defined by reference to their race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origin".[3] [edit] Sociological definitions Some sociologists have defined racism as a system of group privilege. In Portraits of White Racism David Wellman (1993) has defined racism as "culturally sanctioned beliefs, which, regardless of intentions involved, defend the advantages whites have because of the subordinated position of racial minorities, (Wellman 1993: x). Sociologists Noel Cazenave and Darlene Alvarez Maddern define racism as ...a highly organized system of 'race'-based group privilege that operates at every level of society and is held together by a sophisticated ideology of color/'race' supremacy. Racist systems include, but cannot be reduced to, racial bigotry, (Cazenave and Maddern 1999: 42). Sociologist and former American Sociological Association president Joe Feagin argues that the United States can be characterized as a "total racist society" because racism is used to organize every social institution (Feagin 2000, p. 16). More recently, Feagin has articulated a comprehensive theory of racial oppression in the U.S. in his book Systemic Racism: A Theory of Oppression (Routledge, 2006). Feagin examines how major institutions have been built upon racial oppression which was not an accident of history, but was created intentionally by white Americans. In Feagin's view, white Americans labored hard to create a system of racial oppression in the 17th century and have worked diligently to maintain the system ever since. While Feagin acknowledges that changes have occurred in this racist system over the centuries, he contends that key and fundamental elements have been reproduced over nearly four centuries, and that U.S. institutions today reflect the racialized hierarchy created in the 17th century. Today, as in the past, racial oppression is not just a surface-level feature of this society, but rather pervades, permeates, and interconnects all major social groups, networks, and institutions across the society. Feagin's definition stands in sharp contrast to psychological definitions that assume racism is an "attitude" or an irrational form of bigotry that exists apart from the organization of social structure.

[edit] Race: social construct or genetic reality? Many scholars maintain race to be a social construct with potent social and political effects but no basis in biological science.[4][5][6][7][8][9] Scholars such as anthropologist Audrey Smedley (2007) contend that the very idea of 'race' implies inequality and hierarchy. It has also been claimed that biologically there are no scientific classifications that delineate human groups into 'races' (Graves 2004). Historians such as Theodore Allen (1994; 1997) have analyzed colonial records from Virginia and concluded that the idea of a "white race" was originally invented in the early 18th century to splice together various European ethnic groups who never before thought they had anything in common. Noel Ignatiev (1995) has written an historical analysis of how the Irish became members of the "white race" in the 19th century. Smedley and Smedley (2005: 16) state: "The consensus among most scholars in fields such as evolutionary biology, anthropology, and other disciplines is that racial distinctions fail on three counts--that is, they are not genetically discrete, are not reliably measured, and are not scientifically meaningful." Whether or not this view itself is ideologically inspired is open to question. [edit] Ideology As an ideology, racism existed during the 19th century as "scientific racism", which attempted to provide a racial classification of humanity.[10] Although such racist ideologies have been widely discredited after World War II and the Holocaust, the phenomena of racism and of racial discrimination have remained widespread all over the world. It was already noted by DuBois that in making the difference between races, it is not race that we think about, but culture: a common history, common laws and religion, similar habits of thought and a conscious striving together for certain ideals of life[11] Late nineteenth century nationalists were the first to embrace contemporary discourses on "race", ethnicity and "survival of the fittest" to shape new nationalist doctrines. Ultimately, race came to represent not only the most important traits of the human body, but was also regarded as decisively shaping the character and personality of the nation.[12] According to this view, culture is the physical manifestation created by ethnic groupings, as such fully determined by racial characteristics. Culture and race became considered intertwined and dependent upon each other, sometimes even to the extent of including nationality or language to the set of definition. Pureness of race tended to be related to rather superficial characteristics that were easily addressed and advertised, such as blondness. Racial qualities tended to be related to nationality and language rather than the actual geographic distribution of racial characteristics. In the case of Nordicism, the denomination "Germanic" became virtually equivalent to superiority of race. Bolstered by some nationalist and ethnocentric values and achievements of choice, this concept of racial superiority evolved to distinguish from other cultures, that were considered inferior or impure. This emphasis on culture corresponds to the modern

mainstream definition of racism: "Racism does not originate from the existence of races. It creates them through a process of social division into categories: anybody can be racialised, independently of their somatic, cultural, religious differences."[13] This definition explicitly ignores the fiery polemic on the biological concept of race, still subject to scientific debate. In the words of David C. Rowe "A racial concept, although sometimes in the guise of another name, will remain in use in biology and in other fields because scientists, as well as lay persons, are fascinated by human diversity, some of which is captured by race."[14] Until recent history this racist abuse of physical anthropology has been politically exploited. Apart from being unscientific, racial prejudice became subject to international legislation. For instance, the Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1963, address racial prejudice explicitly next to discrimination for reasons of race, colour or ethnic origin (Article I).[15] Racism has been a motivating factor in social discrimination, racial segregation, hate speech and violence (such as pogroms, genocides and ethnic cleansings). Despite the persistence of racial stereotypes, humor and epithets in much everyday language, racial discrimination is illegal in many countries. Some politicians have practiced race baiting in an attempt to win votes.

[edit] Racial discrimination

An anti-discrimination poster in a Hong Kong subway station, January 2005

Racial discrimination is treating people differently through a process of social division into categories not necessarily related to "race". Racial segregation policies may officialize it, but it is also often exerted without being legalized. Researchers, including Dean Karlan and Marianne Bertrand, at the MIT and the University of Chicago found in a 2003 study that there was widespread discrimination in the workplace against job applicants whose names were merely perceived as "sounding black". These applicants were 50% less likely than candidates perceived as having "white-sounding names" to receive callbacks for interviews. The researchers view these results as strong evidence of unconscious biases rooted in the United States' long history of discrimination (i.e. Jim Crow laws, etc.)[16]

[edit] Institutional racism

Further information: Institutional racism, State racism, Racial profiling, and Racism by country Institutional racism (also known as structural racism, state racism or systemic racism) is racial discrimination by governments, corporations, educational institutions or other large organizations with the power to influence the lives of many individuals. Stokely Carmichael is credited for coining the phrase institutional racism in the late 1960s. He defined the term as "the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin".[17] Maulana Karenga argued that racism constituted the destruction of culture, language, religion and human possibility, and that the effects of racism were: the morally monstrous destruction of human possibility involved redefining African humanity to the world, poisoning past, present and future relations with others who only know us through this stereotyping and thus damaging the truly human relations among peoples.[18]

[edit] Economics and racism

Historical economic or social disparity is alleged to be a form of discrimination which is caused by past racism and historical reasons, affecting the present generation through deficits in the formal education and kinds of preparation in the parents' generation, and, through primarily unconscious racist attitudes and actions on members of the general population. (e.g. A member of race Y, Mary, has her opportunities adversely affected (directly and/or indirectly) by the mistreatment of her ancestors of race Y.) The common hypothesis embraced by classical economists is that competition in a capitalist economy decreases the impact of discrimination. The thinking behind the hypothesis is that discrimination imposes a cost on the employer, and thus a profit-driven employer will avoid racist hiring policies.

[edit] Declarations against racial discrimination

Racial discrimination contradicts the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence, the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen issued during the French Revolution and the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed after World War II, which all postulate equality between all human beings. In 1950, UNESCO suggested in The Race Question a statement signed by 21 scholars such as Ashley Montagu, Claude Lvi-Strauss, Gunnar Myrdal, Julian Huxley, etc. to "drop the term race altogether and instead speak of ethnic groups". The statement condemned scientific racism theories which had played a role in the Holocaust. It aimed both at debunking scientific racist theories, by popularizing modern knowledge concerning "the race question," and morally condemned racism as contrary to the philosophy of the Enlightenment and its assumption of equal rights for all. Along with Myrdal's An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (1944), The Race Question influenced the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court desegregation decision in "Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka".[19] The United Nations uses the definition of racial discrimination laid out in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted in 1966: ...any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.(Part 1 of Article 1 of the U.N. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination)[20] In 2001, the European Union explicitly banned racism along with many other forms of social discrimination in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the legal effect of which, if any, would necessarily be limited to Institutions of the European Union: Article 21 of the charter prohibits discrimination on any ground such as race, color, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, disability, age or sexual orientation and also discrimination on the grounds of nationality.[21]

[edit] Ethnic nationalism

Further information: Ethnic nationalism and Romantic nationalism

After the Napoleonic Wars, Europe was confronted with the new "nationalities question," leading to ceaseless reconfigurations of the European map, on which the frontiers between the states had been delimited during the 1648 Peace of Westphalia. Nationalism had made its first, striking appearance with the invention of the leve en masse by the French revolutionaries, thus inventing mass conscription in order to be able to defend the newly-founded Republic against the Ancien Rgime order represented by the European monarchies. This led to the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802) and then to the Napoleonic conquests, and to the subsequent European-wide debates on the concepts and realities of nations, and in particular of nation-states. The Westphalia Treaty had divided Europe into various empires and kingdoms (Ottoman Empire, Holy Roman Empire, Swedish Empire, Kingdom of France, etc.), and for centuries wars were waged between princes (Kabinettskriege in German). Modern nation-states appeared in the wake of the French Revolution, with the formation of patriotic sentiments for the first time in Spain during the Peninsula War (1808-1813 known in Spanish as the Independence War). Despite the restoration of the previous order with the 1815 Congress of Vienna, the "nationalities question" became the main problem of Europe during the Industrial Era, leading in particular to the 1848 Revolutions, the Italian unification completed during the 1871 Franco-Prussian War, which itself culminated in the proclamation of the German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, thus achieving the German unification. Meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire, the "sick man of Europe," was confronted with endless nationalist movements, which, along with the dissolving of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, would lead to the creation after World War I of the various nation-states of the Balkans, which were always confronted, and remain so today, with the existence of "national minorities" in their borders.[22] Ethnic nationalism, which advocated the belief in a hereditary membership of the nation, made its appearance in the historical context surrounding the creation of the modern nation-states. One of its main influences was the Romantic nationalist movement at the turn of the 19th century, represented by figures such as Johann Herder (17441803), Johan Fichte (1762-1814) in the Addresses to the German Nation (1808), Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), or also, in France, Jules Michelet (1798-1874). It was opposed to liberal nationalism, represented by authors such as Ernest Renan (1823-1892), who conceived of the nation as a community which, instead of being based on the Volk ethnic group and on a specific, common language, was founded on the subjective will to live together ("the nation is a daily plebiscite", 1882) or also John Stuart Mill (18061873).[23] Ethnic nationalism quickly blended itself with scientific racist discourses, as well as with "continental imperialist" (Hannah Arendt, 1951[24]) discourses, for example in the panGermanism discourses, which postulated the racial superiority of the German Volk. The Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband), created in 1891, promoted German imperialism, "racial hygiene" and was opposed to intermarriage with Jews. Another, popular current, the Vlkisch movement, was also an important proponent of the German ethnic nationalist discourse, which it also combined with modern anti-semitism. Members of the Vlkisch movement, in particular the Thule Society, would participate in the founding of the German Workers' Party (DAP) in Munich in 1918, the predecessor of the

NSDAP Nazi party. Pan-Germanism and played a decisive role in the interwar period of the 1920s-1930s.[24] These currents began to associate the idea of the nation with the biological concept of a "master race" (often the "Aryan race" or "Nordic race") issued from the scientific racist discourse. They conflated nationalities with ethnic groups, called "races", in a radical distinction from previous racial discourses which posited the existence of a "race struggle" inside the nation and the state itself. Furthermore, they believed that political boundaries should mirror these alleged racial and ethnic groups, thus justifying ethnic cleansing in order to achieve "racial purity" and also to achieve ethnic homogeneity in the nation-state. Such racist discourses, combined with nationalism, were not however limited to panGermanism. In France, the transition from Republican, liberal nationalism, to ethnic nationalism, which made nationalism a characteristic of far-right movements in France, took place during the Dreyfus Affair at the end of the 19th century. During several years, a nation-wide querelle affected French society, concerning the alleged treason of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Jewish military officer. The country polarized itself into two opposite camps, one represented by Emile Zola, who wrote J'accuse in defense of Alfred Dreyfus, and the other represented by the nationalist poet Maurice Barrs (1862-1923), one of the founders of the ethnic nationalist discourse in France.[25] At the same time, Charles Maurras (1868-1952), founder of the monarchist Action franaise movement, theorized the "anti-France," composed of the "four confederate states of Protestants, Jews, Freemasons and foreigners" (his actual word for the latter being the pejorative mtques). Indeed, to him the first three were all "internal foreigners," who threatened the ethnic unity of the French people.

[edit] Ethnic conflicts

Further information: Ethnicity Debates over the origins of racism often suffer from a lack of clarity over the term. Many use the term "racism" to refer to more general phenomena, such as xenophobia and ethnocentrism, although scholars attempt to clearly distinguish those phenomena from racism as an ideology or from scientific racism, which has little to do with ordinary xenophobia. Others conflate recent forms of racism with earlier forms of ethnic and national conflict. In most cases, ethno-national conflict seems to owe itself to conflict over land and strategic resources. In some cases ethnicity and nationalism were harnessed to rally combatants in wars between great religious empires (for example, the Muslim Turks and the Catholic Austro-Hungarians). Notions of race and racism often have played central roles in such ethnic conflicts. Historically, when an adversary is identified as "other" based on notions of race or ethnicity (particularly when "other" is construed to mean "inferior"), the means employed

by the self-presumed "superior" party to appropriate territory, human chattel, or material wealth often have been more ruthless, more brutal, and less constrained by moral or ethical considerations. According to historian Daniel Richter, Pontiac's Rebellion saw the emergence on both sides of the conflict of "the novel idea that all Native people were 'Indians,' that all EuroAmericans were 'Whites,' and that all on one side must unite to destroy the other." (Richter, Facing East from Indian Country, p. 208) Basil Davidson insists in his documentary, Africa: Different but Equal, that racism, in fact, only just recently surfacedas late as the 1800s, due to the need for a justification for slavery in the Americas. The idea of slavery as an "equal-opportunity employer" was denounced with the introduction of Christian theory in the West. Maintaining that Africans were "subhuman" was the only loophole in the then accepted law that "men are created equal" that would allow for the sustenance of the Triangular Trade. New peoples in the Americas, possible slaves, were encountered, fought, and ultimately subdued, but then due to western diseases, their populations drastically decreased. Through both influences, theories about "race" developed, and these helped many to justify the differences in position and treatment of people whom they categorized as belonging to different races (see Eric Wolf's Europe and the People without History). Some people, like Juan Gins de Seplveda, argued that during the Valladolid controversy in the middle of the 16th century that the Native Americans were natural slaves because they had no souls. In Asia, the Chinese and Japanese Empires were both strong colonial powers, with the Chinese making colonies and vassal states of much of East Asia throughout history, and the Japanese doing the same in the 19th-20th centuries. In both cases, the Asian imperial powers believed they were ethnically and racially preferenced too.

[edit] Scientific racism

Main article: Scientific racism Further information: Unilineal evolution The modern biological definition of race developed in the 19th century with scientific racist theories. The term "scientific racism" refers to the use of faulty science to justify and support racist beliefs, which goes back to at least the early 18th century, though it gained most of its influence in the mid-19th century, during the New Imperialism period. Also known as academic racism, such theories first needed to overcome the Church's resistance to positivists accounts of history, and its support of monogenism, that is that all human beings were originated from the same ancestors, in accordance with creationist accounts of history.

These racist theories put forth on scientific hypothesis were combined with unilineal theories of social progress which postulated the superiority of the European civilization over the rest of the world. Furthermore, they frequently made use of the idea of "survival of the fittest", a term coined by Herbert Spencer in 1864, associated with ideas of competition which were named social Darwinism in the 1940s. Charles Darwin himself opposed the idea of rigid racial differences in The Descent of Man (1871) in which he argued that humans were all of one species, sharing common descent. He recognised racial differences as varieties of humanity, and emphasised the close similarities between people of all races in mental faculties, tastes, dispositions and habits, while still contrasting the culture of the "lowest savages" with European civilization.[26][27] At the end of the 19th century, proponents of scientific racism intertwined themselves with eugenics discourses of "degeneration of the race" and "blood heredity." Henceforth, scientific racist discourses could be defined as the combination of polygenism, unilinealism, social darwinism and eugenism. They found their scientific legitimacy on physical anthropology, anthropometry, craniometry, phrenology, physiognomy and others now discredited disciplines in order to formulate racist prejudices. Before being disqualified in the 20th century by the American school of cultural anthropology (Franz Boas, etc.), the British school of social anthropology (Bronisaw Malinowski, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, etc.), the French school of ethnology (Claude LviStrauss, etc.), as well as the discovery of the neo-Darwinian synthesis, such sciences, in particular anthropometry, were used to deduce behaviours and psychological characteristics from outward, physical appearances. The neo-Darwinian synthesis, first developed in the 1930s, eventually led to a gene-centered view of evolution in the 1960s, which seemed at first to be sufficient proof of the inanity of the "scientific racist" theories of the 19th centuries, which based their conception of evolution on "races", a concept which first appeared to lose any sense at the genetic level. However, the modern resurgence of racist theories, in particular those related to the race and intelligence controversy, seems to show that genetics could also be used for ideological, racist purposes.

[edit] Heredity, "degeneration" and eugenics

Further information: Eugenics The first theory of eugenics was developed in 1869 by Francis Galton (1822-1911), who used the then popular concept of "degeneration". He applied statistics to study human differences and the alleged "inheritance of intelligence," foreshadowing future uses of "intelligence testing" by the anthropometry school. Such theories were vividly described by the writer Emile Zola (1840-1902), who started publishing in 1871 a twenty-novel cycle, Les Rougon-Macquart, where he linked heredity to behavior. Thus, Zola described the high-born Rougons as those involved in politics (Son Excellence Eugne Rougon) and medicine (Le Docteur Pascal) and the low-born Macquarts as those fatally falling into alcoholism (L'Assommoir), prostitution (Nana), and homicide (La Bte humaine).

During the rise of Nazism in Germany, some scientists in Western nations worked to debunk the regime's racial theories. A few argued against racist ideologies and discrimination, even if they believed in the alleged existence of biological races. However, in the fields of anthropology and biology, these were minority positions until the mid-20th century.[28] According to the 1950 UNESCO statement, The Race Question, an international project to debunk racist theories had been attempted in the mid-1930s. However, this project had been abandoned. Thus, in 1950, UNESCO declared that it had resumed: "up again, after a lapse of fifteen years, a project which the International Institute for Intellectual Co-operation has wished to carry through but which it had to abandon in deference to the appeasement policy of the pre-war period. The race question had become one of the pivots of Nazi ideology and policy. Masaryk and Bene took the initiative of calling for a conference to re-establish in the minds and consciences of men everywhere the truth about race... Nazi propaganda was able to continue its baleful work unopposed by the authority of an international organisation." The Third Reich's racial policies, its eugenics programs and the extermination of Jews in the Holocaust, as well as Gypsies in the Porrajmos and others minorities led to a change in opinions about scientific research into race after the war. Changes within scientific disciplines, such as the rise of the Boasian school of anthropology in the United States contributed to this shift. These theories were strongly denounced in the 1950 UNESCO statement, signed by internationally renowned scholars, and titled The Race Question.

[edit] Polygenism and racial typologies

Further information: Polygenism and Typology (anthropology) Works such as Arthur Gobineau's An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (18531855) may be considered as one of the first theorizations of this new racism, founded on an essentialist notion of race, which opposed the former racial discourse, of Boulainvilliers for example, which saw in races a fundamentally historical reality which changed over time. Gobineau thus attempted to frame racism within the terms of biological differences among human beings, giving it the legitimacy of biology. He was one of the first theorists to postulate polygenism, stating that there were, at the origins of the world, various discrete "races." Gobineau's theories would be expanded, in France, by Georges Vacher de Lapouge (1854-1936)'s typology of races, who published in 1899 The Aryan and his Social Role, in which he claimed that the white, "Aryan race", "dolichocephalic", was opposed to the "brachycephalic" race, of whom the "Jew" was the archetype. Vacher de Lapoug thus created a hierarchical classification of races, in which he identified the "Homo europaeus (Teutonic, Protestant, etc.), the "Homo alpinus" (Auvergnat, Turkish, etc.), and finally the "Homo mediterraneus" (Neapolitan, Andalus, etc.) He assimilated races and social classes, considering that the French upper class was a representation of the Homo europaeus, while the lower class represented the Homo

alpinus. Applying Galton's eugenics to his theory of races, Vacher de Lapouge's "selectionism" aimed first at achieving the annihilation of trade unionists, considered to be a "degenerate"; second, creating types of man each destined to one end, in order to prevent any contestation of labour conditions. His "anthroposociology" thus aimed at blocking social conflict by establishing a fixed, hierarchical social order[29] The same year than Vacher de Lapouge, William Z. Ripley used identical racial classification in The Races of Europe (1899), which would have a great influence in the United States. Others famous scientific authors include H.S. Chamberlain at the end of the 19th century (a British citizen who naturalized himself as German because of his admiration for the "Aryan race") or Madison Grant, a eugenicist and author of The Passing of the Great Race (1916).

[edit] Academic racism

Further information: Race and intelligence Academic racism was pushed by white supremacist Caucasians during the period when white Caucasians garnered great profits from slavery and colonialism. Academic racism had the effect of attempting to deny the culture, history and ancestry from the victims of the profitable slave and colonial systems. Owen 'Alik Shahadah comments on this racism by stating, "Historically Africans are made to sway like leaves on the wind, impervious and indifferent to any form of civilization, a people absent from scientific discovery, philosophy or the higher arts. We are left to believe that almost nothing can come out of Africa, other than raw material"[30]

An example of racist and misleading imagery by Caucasian white supremacist researchers drawn during the period when slavery of African people was both legal and profitable in the United States. Cartoons such as this served to justify slavery and the

massive profits it garnered for slave traders and slave owners. The cartoon was intended to suggest that black people ranked between whites and chimpanzees in intelligence and were therefore suitable for exploitation by slave owners and traders. As a piece of propaganda, it has no basis in science or fact. From Nott and Gliddon's Indigenous races of the earth (1857) Scottish philosopher and economist David Hume said "I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilised nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or in speculation. No ingenious manufacture among them, no arts, no sciences".[31] German philosopher Immanuel Kant stated: "The yellow Indians do have a meagre talent. The Negroes are far below them, and at the lowest point are a part of the American people."[32] In the nineteenth century, the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel declared that "Africa is no historical part of the world." Hegel further claimed that blacks had no "sense of personality; their spirit sleeps, remains sunk in itself, makes no advance, and thus parallels the compact, undifferentiated mass of the African continent" (On Blackness Without Blacks: Essays on the Image of the Black in Germany, Boston: C.W. Hall, 1982, p. 94). Less than 30 years before the Nazi power began World War II, the German Otto Weininger, claimed: "A genius has perhaps scarcely ever appeared amongst the negroes, and the standard of their morality is almost universally so low that it is beginning to be acknowledged in America that their emancipation was an act of imprudence" (Sex and Character, New York: G.P. Putnam, 1906, p. 302). The German conservative Oswald Spengler remarked on what he perceived as the culturally degrading influence of Africans in modern Western culture: in The Hour of Decision Spengler denounced "the 'happy ending' of an empty existence, the boredom of which has brought to jazz music and Negro dancing to perform the Death March for a great Culture" (The Hour of Decision, pp. 227-228). During the Nazi era German scientists rearranged academia to support claims of a grand Aryan agent behind the splendors of all human civilizations, including India and Ancient Egypt.[32]

People Show (Vlkerschau) in Stuttgart (Germany) in 1928.

[edit] Human Zoos

Human Zoos (called "People Shows"), were an important means of bolstering popular racism by connecting it to scientific racism: they were both objects of public curiosity and of anthropology and anthropometry.[33][34] Joice Heth, an African American slave, was displayed by P.T. Barnum in 1836, a few years after the exhibition of Saartjie Baartman, the "Hottentot Venus", in England. Such exhibitions became common in the New Imperialism period, and remained so until World War II. Carl Hagenbeck, inventor of the modern zoos, exhibited animals aside of human beings considered as "savages".[35][36] Congolese pygmy Ota Benga was displayed in 1906 by eugenicist Madison Grant, head of the Bronx Zoo, as an attempt to illustrate the "missing link" between humans and orangutans: thus, racism was tied to Darwinism, creating a social Darwinism ideology which tried to ground itself in Darwin's scientific discoveries. The 1931 Paris Colonial Exhibition displayed Kanaks from New Caledonia.[37] A "Congolese village" was on display as late as 1958 at the Brussels' World Fair.

[edit] Racism and colonialism in the nineteenth century

Main article: Second European colonization wave (19th century20th century) Authors such as Hannah Arendt, in her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism, have said that the racist ideology ("popular racism") developed at the end of the nineteenth century helped legitimize the imperialist conquests of foreign territories, and crimes that accompanied it (such as the Herero and Namaqua Genocide, 1904-1907, or Armenian Genocide, 1915-1917). Rudyard Kipling's poem The White Man's Burden (1899) is one of the more famous illustrations of the belief in the inherent superiority of the European culture over the rest of the world, though also thought to be a satirical vantage of such imperialism. Racist ideology thus helped legitimize subjugation and the dismantling of the traditional

societies of indigenous peoples, which were thus conceived as humanitarian obligations as a result of these racist beliefs. However, it should be noted, that during the 19th century West European colonial powers were involved in the suppression of the Arab slave trade in Africa,[38] as well as in suppression of the slave trade in West Africa.[39] Other colonialists recognized the depravity of their actions but persisted for personal gain and there are some Europeans during the time period who objected to the injustices caused by colonialism and lobbied on behalf of aboriginal peoples. Thus, when the "Hottentot Venus" was displayed in England in the beginning of the nineteenth century, the African Association publicly opposed itself to the exhibition. The same year that Kipling published his poem, Joseph Conrad published Heart of Darkness (1899), a clear criticism of the Congo Free State owned by Leopold II of Belgium. Examples of racial theories used to legitimate the imperialist conquest include the creation of the "Hamitic" ethno-linguistic group during the European exploration of Africa. Used in different ways, the term was first used by Johann Ludwig Krapf (18101881) to qualify all languages of Africa spoken by black people. It was then restricted by Karl Friedrich Lepsius (1810-1877) to African non-Semitic languages. The term then became quite popular, and was applied to different groups (Ethiopians, Eritreans, Berbers, Nubians, Somalis, etc.) Europeans conceived "Hamitic" people, allegedly descendants of the biblical Ham, son of Noah, as leaders within Africa. However, the allegedly Hamitic peoples themselves were often deemed to have 'failed' as rulers, a failing that was sometimes explained by interbreeding with "non-Hamites". So, in the mid-20th century the German scholar Carl Meinhof (1857-1944) claimed that the "Bantu race" was formed by a merger of Hamitic and "Negro races". The 'Hottentots' (Nama or Khoi) were formed by the merger of Hamitic and Bushmen ("San) races" both being termed nowadays as Khoisan peoples). The term "Hamitic" is nowadays obsolete. Racism spread throughout the "New World" in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Whitecapping which started in Indiana in the late 19th century soon spread throughout all of North America, causing many African laborers to flee from the land they worked on.

[edit] State-sponsored racism

Main articles: Nazism and race, Racial policy of Nazi Germany, Generalplan Ost, Eugenics in Showa Japan, Apartheid in South Africa, Racial segregation in the United States, Anti-Chinese legislation in Indonesia, and Anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea State racism played a role in the Nazi Germany regime and fascist regimes in Europe, and in the first part of Japan's Showa period. State racism also played a major part in the formation of the Dominican Republic's identity [8] and violent actions encouraged by

Dominican governmental xenophobia against Haitans and "Haitian looking" people. Currently the Dominican Republic employs a de-facto system of separatism for children and grandchildren of Haitians and black Dominicans, denying them birth certificates, education and access to health care.[40] These governments advocated and implemented policies that were racist, xenophobic and, in case of Nazism, genocidal. The formation of the Dominican Republic was based on the Christian anti-semitism and racism carried out during the Reconquest of Spain.[41] [42] [9]

[edit] Racism in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance

Further information: Limpieza de sangre Racist opinions occurred in the works of some Persian and Arab-Muslim historians and geographers: so in the 14th century CE, the Tunisian Ibn Khaldun could write: - :"...the Negro nations are, as a rule, submissive to slavery, because (Negroes) have little that is (essentially) human and possess attributes that are quite similar to those of dumb animals..."[43][44] In the same period, the Egyptian Al-Abshibi (1388-1446) wrote, "It is said that when the [black] slave is sated, he fornicates, when he is hungry, he steals."[45] Richard E. Nisbett has said that the question of racial superiority may go back at least a thousand years, to the time when the Moors invaded the Iberian peninsula, occupying most of Hispania for six centuries, where they founded the advanced civilization of AlAndalus (711-1492). Al-Andalus coincided with La Convivencia, an era of religious tolerance and with the Golden age of Jewish culture in the Iberian Peninsula (912, the rule of Abd-ar-Rahman III - 1066, Granada massacre).[46] It was followed by a violent Reconquista under the Reyes Catolicos (Catholic Kings), Ferdinand V and Isabella I. The Catholic Spaniards then formulated the Cleanliness of blood doctrine. It was during this time in history that the Western concept of aristocratic "blue blood" emerged in a highly racialized and implicitly white supremacist context, as author Robert Lacey explains...

It was the Spaniards who gave the world the notion that an aristocrat's blood is not red but blue. The Spanish nobility started taking shape around the ninth century in classic military fashion, occupying land as warriors on horseback. They were to continue the process for more than five hundred years, clawing back sections of the peninsula from its Moorish occupiers, and a nobleman demonstrated his pedigree by holding up his sword arm to display the filigree of blue-blooded veins beneath his pale skin--proof that his birth had not been contaminated by the dark-skinned enemy. Sangre azul, blue blood, was thus a euphemism for being a white man--Spain's own particular reminder that the

refined footsteps of the aristocracy through history carry the rather less refined spoor of racism.[47] Following the expulsion of most Sephardic Jews from the Iberian peninsula, the remaining Jews and Muslims were forced to convert to Roman Catholicism, becoming "New Christians" which were despised and discriminated by the others Christians. An Inquisition was carried out by members of the Dominican Order in order to weed out converts that still practiced Judaism and Islam in secret. The system and ideology of the limpieza de sangre ostracized Christian converts from society, regardless of their actual degree of sincerity in their faith. In Portugal, the legal distinction between New and Old Christian was only ended through a legal decree issued by the Marquis of Pombal in 1772, almost three centuries after the implementation of the racist discrimination. The limpieza de sangre doctrine was also very common in the colonization of the Americas, where it led to the racial separation of the various peoples in the colonies and created a very intricate list of nomenclature to describe one's precise race and, by consequence, one's place in society. This precise classification was described by Eduardo Galeano in the Open Veins of Latin America (1971). It included, among others terms, mestizo (50% Spaniard and 50% Native American), castizo (75% European and 25% Native American), Spaniard (87.5% European and 12.5% Native American), Mulatto (50% European and 50% African), Albarazado (43.75% Native American, 29.6875% European, and 26.5625% African), etc. At the end of the Renaissance, the Valladolid debate (1550-1551) concerning the treatment of natives of the "New World" opposed the Dominican friar and Bishop of Chiapas Bartolom de Las Casas to another Dominican philosopher Juan Gins de Seplveda. The latter argued that "Indians" were natural slaves because they had no souls, and were therefore beneath humanity. Thus, reducing them to slavery or serfdom was in accordance with Catholic theology and natural law. To the contrary, Bartolom de Las Casas argued that the Amerindians were free men in the natural order and deserved the same treatment as others, according to Catholic theology. It was one of the many controversy concerning racism, slavery and Eurocentrism that would arise in the following centuries. Although anti-Semitism has a long European history, related to Christianism (antiJudaism), racism itself is frequently described as a modern phenomenon. In the view of the French intellectual Michel Foucault, the first formulation of racism emerged in the Early Modern period as the "discourse of race struggle", a historical and political discourse which Foucault opposed to the philosophical and juridical discourse of sovereignty.[48] Philosopher and historian Michel Foucault argued that the first appearance of racism as a social discourse (as opposed to simple xenophobia, which some might argue has existed in all places and times) may be found during the 1688 Glorious Revolution in Great Britain, in Edward Coke or John Lilburne's work.

However, this "discourse of race struggle", as interpreted by Foucault, must be distinguished from 19th century biological racism, also known as "race science" or "scientific racism". Indeed, this early modern discourse has many points of difference with modern racism. First of all, in this "discourse of race struggle", "race" is not considered a biological notion which would divide humanity into distinct biological groups but as a historical notion. Moreover, this discourse is opposed to the sovereign's discourse: it is used by the bourgeoisie, the people and the aristocracy as a mean of struggle against the monarchy. This discourse, which first appeared in Great Britain, was then carried on in France by people such as Boulainvilliers, Nicolas Frret, and then, during the 1789 French Revolution, Sieys, and afterward Augustin Thierry and Cournot. Boulainvilliers, which created the matrix of such racist discourse in medieval France, conceived the "race" as something closer to the sense of "nation", that is, in his times, the "people". He conceived France as divided between various nations the unified nation-state is, of course, here an anachronism which themselves formed different "races". Boulainvilliers opposed the absolute monarchy, who tried to bypass the aristocracy by establishing a direct relationship to the Third Estate. Thus, he created this theory of the French aristocrats as being the descendants of foreign invaders, whom he called the "Franks", while the Third Estate constituted according to him the autochthonous, vanquished Gallo-Romans, who were dominated by the Frankish aristocracy as a consequence of the right of conquest. Early modern racism was opposed to nationalism and the nation-state: the Comte de Montlosier, in exile during the French Revolution, who borrowed Boulainvilliers' discourse on the "Nordic race" as being the French aristocracy that invaded the plebeian "Gauls", thus showed his despise for the Third Estate calling it "this new people born of slaves... mixture of all races and of all times". While 19th century racism became closely intertwined with nationalism, leading to the ethnic nationalist discourse which identified the "race" to the "folk", leading to such movements as pan-Germanism, Zionism, pan-Turkism, pan-Arabism, and pan-Slavism, medieval racism precisely divided the nation into various non-biological "races", which were thought as the consequences of historical conquests and social conflicts. Michel Foucault thus traced the genealogy of modern racism to this medieval "historical and political discourse of race struggle". According to him, it divided itself in the 19th century according to two rival lines: on one hand, it was incorporated by racists, biologists and eugenicists, who gave it the modern sense of "race" and, even more, transformed this popular discourse into a "state racism" (e.g. Nazism). On the other hand, Marxists also seized this discourse founded on the assumption of a political struggle which provided the real engine of history and continued to act underneath the apparent peace. Thus, Marxists transformed the essentialist notion of "race" into the historical notion of "class struggle", defined by socially structured position: capitalist or proletarian. In The Will to Knowledge (1976), Foucault analyzed another opponent of the

"race struggle" discourse: Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis, which opposed the concepts of "blood heredity," prevailent in the 19th century racist discourse.

[edit] During the Age of Enlightenment

While modern racism has an essentialist and biological conception of race, racist or xenophobic opinions have been shared by some authors, from the Antiquity to the Age of Enlightenment. However, this early form of racism did not conceive of "race" as a biological concept as biology itself did not exist as such , but as the accidental effect of climate on physical traits.[49] With the Age of Discovery, the diversity of mankind became an important topic of research, leading to debates concerning monogenism and polygenism, respectively endorsing the unique origin of mankind (coherent with the Genesis Biblical account) and the multiple origins of mankind. Pierre de Maupertuis (1698-1759), for example, reconciled the Biblical account with the present diversity of "races" in his Essai de philosophie morale (1749, Essay on Moral Philosophy), explaining "racial" differences by climatic factors.[49] He thus explained the colour of black people through the inheritance of acquired characteristics, claiming white was the original colour of mankind.[49] He also highlighted the spiritual strength of Africans seized as slaves, pointing out how, like the Ancient Stoic philosophers, they prefer to die rather than to survive to capture.[49] Arguments on the influence of climate found additional weight with Buffon's Histoire naturelle in the middle of the 18th century, and his thesis on the unity of mankind was taken back by Diderot and d'Alembert's Encyclopdie in the article Humaine, espce (Human, Specie).[49] According to Ann Thomson, although Buffon did establish a "clear hierarchy [...] between the beautiful white civilised races of the temperate zone and those savages who have degenerated in more extreme climates, his emphasis on the unity of the human race and his distinction between humans and other animals were extremely influential.[49]" The abolitionists thus used his arguments to show that Africans were not naturally inferior, and could be improved by different treatment and different climate.[49] The abb Demanet (1767) thus claimed that a Portuguese colony in Africa had become black after several generations, due to the effect of climate[49] a story which was given wide credence by abolitionists, quoted for example by Cabanis (1757-1808), Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846), etc.[49] The abolitionist Physiocrat abb Pierre-Joseph-Andr Roubaud also alleged that Black Africans would change skin colour if they lived in different climatic conditions.[49] According to Ann Thomson...

What emerges from these examples is the overwhelming desire to insist on the unity of the human race by emphasizing the effect of the climate and other environmental causes, but not necessarily to claim the equality of all humans; for the existence of a hierarchy is not systematically denied but, on the contrary, frequently accepted [exceptions quoted by Thomson includes James Dunbar and the abb Grgoire.]. This of course was to have long-lasting effects in the Nineteenth Century, when the arguments about climate were countered and the hierarchy was seen to be permanent, as the differences

between humans were innate.[49] Moral factors were also considered to influence physical and psychical traits. Henceforth, the American abolitionist Anthony Benezet stated, in the Historical Account of Guinea (1772), that Africans in Africa were a sociable, virtuous and intelligent people; but that their servile condition in Amercia explained their "degeneration" and adoption of the vices of Europeans.[49] Furthermore, the theory of the Great Chain of Being, which asserted a continuity between animals and humans, thus contradicting Christian religion (and henceforth supported by materialists such as Diderot) was used by some, such as Edward Long, spokesman for the West India Lobby, or Charles Whites Account of the Regular Gradation in Man (1799 White denied the effect of climate) to assert the animal nature of some humans.[49]

[edit] Racism by country

Main article: Racism by country

[edit] Interminority racism

Inter-minority racism is sometimes considered controversial because of theories of power in society. Prejudiced thinking among and between minority groups does occur, for example conflicts between blacks and Korean Americans (notably in the 1992 Los Angeles Riots) or between blacks and Jews (such as the riots in Crown Heights in 1991 [10]) in various urban environments, new immigrant groups (such as Latinos [11]) or towards whites. [12] [13] There has been a long running racial tension between African Americans and Mexican Americans.[50][51][52] There have been several significant riots in California prisons where Mexican American inmates and African Americans have targeted each other particularly, based on racial reasons.[53][54] There have been reports of racially motivated attacks against African Americans who have moved into neighborhoods occupied mostly by Mexican Americans, and vice versa.[55][56][57][58] There had also been cases in the late 1920's California in which Filipino immigrants have been victimized for moving into a predominantly white neighbourhood, or for working in an overwhelmingly white workplace.[59] Recently there has also been an increase in racial violence between whites and Hispanic immigrants[60] and between African immigrants and American blacks.[61] The Aztlan movement has been described as racist. The movement's goal involves the pursuit of repossessing the American southwest. It has also been called the Mexican "reconquista"(re-conquest) whose name was inspired by the Spanish "reconquista" which led to the expulsion of the Moors from Spain. [14]

According to gang experts and law enforcement agents, a longstanding race war between the Mexican Mafia and the Black Guerilla family, a rival African American prison gang, has generated such intense racial hatred among Mexican Mafia leaders, or shot callers, that they have issued a "green light" on all blacks. A sort of gang-life fatwah, this amounts to a standing authorization for Latino gang members to prove their mettle by terrorizing or even murdering any blacks sighted in a neighborhood claimed by a gang loyal to the Mexican Mafia. [15] In Britain, tensions between minority groups can be just as strong as any minority group suffers with the majority population. In Birmingham, there has been long-term divisions between the Black and South Asian communities, which were illustrated in the Handsworth riots and in the smaller 2005 Birmingham riots. Tensions between Muslims and Sikhs - two groups who have a history of bad relations - have flared in Slough[62] and at some colleges to the west of London.[63] In Dewsbury, a Yorkshire town with a relatively high Muslim population, there have been tensions and minor civil disturbances between Kurds and South Asians.[64] During the Congo Civil War (1998-2003), Pygmies were hunted down like game animals and eaten. Both sides of the war regarded them as "subhuman" and some say their flesh can confer magical powers. UN human rights activists reported in 2003 that rebels had carried out acts of cannibalism. Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of Mbuti pygmies, has asked the UN Security Council to recognise cannibalism as a crime against humanity and an act of genocide.[65]

[edit] Bibliography

Allen, Theodore. (1994). 'The Invention of the White Race: Volume 1 London, UK: Verso. Allen, Theodore. (1997). The Invention of the White Race: Volume 2 London, UK: Verso. Barkan, Elazar (1992), The Retreat of Scientific Racism : Changing Concepts of Race in Britain and the United States between the World Wars, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY. Cazenave, Noel A. and Darlene Alvarez Maddern. 1999. Defending the White Race:White Male Faculty Opposition to a White Racism Course. Race and Society 2: 25-50. Dain, Bruce (2002), A Hideous Monster of the Mind : American Race Theory in the Early Republic, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. (18th century US racial theory) Diamond, Jared (1999), "Guns, Germs, and Steel", W.W. Norton, New York, NY. Ehrenreich, Eric (2007), The Nazi Ancestral Proof: Genealogy, Racial Science, and the Final Solution, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN. Ewen & Ewen (2006), "Typecasting: On the Arts and Sciences of Human Inequality", Seven Stories Press, New York, NY. Feagin, Joe R. (2006). Systemic Racism: A Theory of Oppression. NY: Routledge.

Feagin, Joe R. (2000). Racist America: Roots, Current Realities, and Future Reparations. NY: Routledge. Gibson, Rich (2004) Against Racism and Nationalism %7Ergibson/againstracism.htm Graves, Joseph. (2004) The Race Myth NY: Dutton. Ignatiev, Noel. 1995. How the Irish Became White NY: Routledge. Lvi-Strauss, Claude (1952), Race and History, (UNESCO). Memmi, Albert, Racism, University of Minnesota Press (1999) ISBN 9780816631650 Rocchio, Vincent F. (2000), Reel Racism : Confronting Hollywood's Construction of Afro-American Culture, Westview Press. Smedley, Audrey and Brian D. Smedley. (2005) "Race as Biology if Fiction, Racism as a Social Problem is Real." American Psychologist 60: 16-26. Smedley, Audrey. 2007. Race in North America: Origins and Evolution of a World View. Boulder, CO: Westview. Stokes, DaShanne (forthcoming), Legalized Segregation and the Denial of Religious Freedom, URL. Stoler, Ann Laura (1997), "Racial Histories and Their Regimes of Truth", Political Power and Social Theory 11 (1997), 183206. (historiography of race and racism) Taguieff, Pierre-Andr (1987), La Force du prjug : Essai sur le racisme et ses doubles, Tel Gallimard, La Dcouverte. Twine, France Winddance (1997), Racism in a Racial Democracy: The Maintenance of White Supremacy in Brazil, Rutgers University Press. UNESCO, The Race Question, 1950 Tali Farkash, "Racists among us" in Y-Net (Yediot Aharonot), "Jewish Scene" section, April 20, 2007 Wellman, David T. 1993. Portraits of White Racism. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Winant, Howard The New Politics of Race (2004) Winant, Howard and Omi, Michael Racial Formation In The United States Routeledge (1986); Second Edition (1994). Wohlgemuth, Bettina. "Racism in the 21st century - How everybody can make a difference", Saarbrcken, DE, VDM Verlag Dr. Mller e.K., (2007). ISBN 978-38364-1033-5

[edit] See also

Albophobia Apartheid Anti-racism Capital Jury Project Celebrity Big Brother racism controversy Intersectionality List of racism-related topics Police brutality

Prejudice Race and Inequality Racism by country Reverse discrimination Slavery in modern Africa Social criticism Teaching for social justice Whiteness studies Xenophobia Nur fr Deutsche

[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Racism

Facing History and Ourselves - Social Justice Organization Race, history and culture - Ethics - March 1996 -Extract of two articles by Claude Lvi-Strauss Race, Racism and the Law - Information about race, racism and racial distinctions in the law. Unfair and Lowly - Fairness Creams and Racist Tones in the Indian context. Race - Companion website to a PBS documentary about race. Race - the Power of Illusion Information on a documentary about race.

[edit] Notes
1. ^ UN International Convention on the Elimination of All of Racial Discrimination, NEW YORK 7 March 1966 2. ^ A. Metraux (1950) "United nations Economic and Security Council Statement by Experts on Problems of Race" in American Anthropologist 53(1): 142-145) 3. ^ The CPS : Racist and Religious Crime - CPS Prosecution Policy 4. ^ Thompson, William; Joseph Hickey (2005). Society in Focus. Boston, MA: Pearson. 0-205-41365-X. 5. ^ Gordon 1964 6. ^ American Anthropological Association Statement on "Race" 7. ^ Palmie, Stephan (2007) "Genomics, Divination, 'Racecraft'" in American Ethnologist 34(2): 214 8. ^ Mevorach, Katya Gibel (2007) "Race, Racism and Academic Complicity" in American Ethnologist 34(2): 239-240 9. ^ Daniel A. Segal 'The European': Allegories of Racial Purity Anthropology Today, Vol. 7, No. 5 (Oct., 1991), pp. 7-9 doi:10.2307/3032780

10. ^ Pierre-Andr Taguieff, La force du prjug, 1987 (French) 11. ^ The Conservation of Races - W.E.B. DuBois, 1897 (p. 21)[1] 12. ^ The Idea of National Superiority in Central Europe, 1880 1918, Marius Turda, ISBN10: 0-7734-6180-9 ISBN13: 978-0-7734-6180-2, 2005 13. ^ National Analytical Study on Racist Violence and Crime, RAXEN Focal Point for ITALY - Annamaria Rivera [2] 14. ^ David C. Rowe in Heredity 87 (2001) 254-255 : Book review on The Emperor's New Clothes: biological theories of race at the new millennium. Joseph L. Graves Jr. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey. 2001, ISBN 0-81352847-X) [3] 15. ^ INTER-AMERICAN CONVENTION AGAINST RACISM AND ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AND INTOLERANCE - Study prepared by the Inter-American Juridical Committee, 2002 [4] 16. ^ Sendhil Mullainathan and Marianne Bertrand (2003). "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination", NBER Working Paper No. 9873, July, 2003). 17. ^ Richard W. Race, Critics have replied that Carmichael's definition glosses over individual responsibility and leaves no room to question whether the members of a group are failing or not meeting standards due not to discrimination but due to their own dysfunctional behaviour and bad choices. Analysing ethnic education policy-making in England and WalesPDF (47.2 KiB), Sheffield Online Papers in Social Research, University of Sheffield, p.12. Accessed 20 June 2006. 18. ^ "Effects on Africa". "Ron Karenga". 19. ^ Toward a World without Evil: Alfred Mtraux as UNESCO Anthropologist (1946-1962), by Harald E.L. Prins, UNESCO (English) 20. ^ Text of the Convention, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1966 21. ^ 22. ^ On this "nationalities question" and the problem of nationalism, see the relevant articles for a non-exhaustive account of the state of contemporary historical researches; famous works include: Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (1983); Eric Hobsbawm,The Age of Revolution : Europe 1789-1848 (1962), Nations and Nationalism since 1780 : programme, myth, reality (1990); Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (1991); Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital and European States AD 990-1992 (1990); Anthony D. Smith, Theories of Nationalism (1971), etc. 23. ^ John Stuart Mill, Considerations on Representative Government, 1861 24. ^ a b Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) 25. ^ Maurice Barrs, Le Roman de l'nergie nationale (The Novel of National Energy, a trilogy started in 1897) 26. ^ Charles Darwin (1871). The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. John Murray. Retrieved on 2007-12-02. 27. ^ Desmond, Adrian & Moore, James (1991), Darwin, London: Michael Joseph, Penguin Group, ISBN 0-7181-3430-3 pp. 28, 147, 580. 28. ^ UNESCO, The Race Question, 1950

29. ^ Matsuo Takeshi (University of Shimane, Japan). L'Anthropologie de Georges Vacher de Lapouge: Race, classe et eugnisme (Georges Vacher de Lapouge anthropology) in Etudes de langue et littrature franaises 2001, n79, pp. 47-57. ISSN 0425-4929 ; INIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : 25320, 35400010021625.0050 (Abstract resume on the INIST-CNRS 30. ^ The Removal of Agency from Africa by Owen 'Alik Shahadah 31. ^ RACE AND RACISM IN THE WORKS OF DAVID HUME by Eric Morton 32. ^ a b [Race and Racism ( O.R.P.) (Oxford Readings in Philosophy) (Paperback)] by Bernard Boxill 33. ^ On A Neglected Aspect Of Western Racism, Kurt Jonassohn, December 2000 34. ^ "Human zoos - Racist theme parks for Europe's colonialists", Le Monde Diplomatique, August 2000. (English); "Ces zoos humains de la Rpublique coloniale", Le Monde diplomatique, August 2000. (French) (available to everyone) 35. ^ Human Zoos, by Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard and Sandrine Lemaire, in Le Monde diplomatique, August 2000 (English) French - free 36. ^ Savages and Beasts - The Birth of the Modern Zoo, Nigel Rothfels, Johns Hopkins University Press (English) 37. ^ The Colonial Exhibition of May 1931PDF (96.6 KiB) by Michael G. Vann, History Dept., Santa Clara University, USA 38. ^ Royal Navy and the Slave Trade : Battles : History 39. ^ Chasing Freedom Exhibition: the Royal Navy and the Suppression of the Transatlantic Slave Trade 40. ^ AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA 41. ^ Edward Russel of Liverpool, The Knights of Bushido, 2002, p.238, Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the making of modern Japan, 2001, p.313, 314, 326, 359, 360, Karel Wolferen, The Enigma of Japanese power, 1989, p.263-272 42. ^ Anti-Haitianism, Historical Memory, and the Potential for Genocidal Violence in the Dominican Republic University of Toronto Press ISSN 1911-0359 (Print) 1911-9933 (Online) Issue Volume 1, Number 3 / December 2006 DOI 10.3138/7864-3362-3R24-6231 43. ^ [5]. The Muqaddimah, Translated by F. Rosenthal 44. ^ West Asian views on black Africans during the medieval era 45. ^ Lewis, Bernard (2002). Race and Slavery in the Middle East. Oxford University Press, 93. ISBN 0195053265. 46. ^ Granada by Richard Gottheil, Meyer Kayserling, Jewish Encyclopedia. 1906 ed. 47. ^ Robert Lacey, Aristocrats. Little, Brown and Company, 1983, p. 67 48. ^ Michel Foucault, Society Must Be Defended (1976-77) 49. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ann Thomson, Issues at stake in eighteenth-century racial classification, Cromohs, 8 (2003): 1-20 (English) 50. ^ Race relations | Where black and brown collide | 51. ^ Riot Breaks Out At Calif. High School, Melee Involving 500 People Erupts At Southern California School 52. ^ [6]

53. ^ JURIST - Paper Chase: Race riot put down at California state prison 54. ^ Racial segregation continues in California prisons 55. ^ A bloody conflict between Hispanic and black gangs is spreading across Los Angeles 56. ^ The Hutchinson Report: Thanks to Latino Gangs, Theres a Zone in L.A. Where Blacks Risk Death if They Enter 57. ^ [7] 58. ^ Commentary: Black-brown friction waste of energy 59. ^ Filipino Migrant Workers in California 60. ^ Late-night snack soured by racially motivated violence 61. ^ African immigrants face bias from blacks 62. ^ Untitled 63. ^ %20clash,%20Isleworth link=template&story=61 64. ^ sectionid=28&articleid=2955186 bit 65. ^ DR Congo Pygmies appeal to UN

Sub-Saharan Africa
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A political map showing national divisions in relation to the ecological break (SubSaharan Africa in green)

A geographical map of Africa, showing the ecological break that defines the sub-Saharan area Sub-Saharan Africa is the term used to describe the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. Geographically, the demarcation line is the southern edge of the Sahara.


1 Poverty 2 Geography 3 History 4 Critique of the term 5 Demography 6 Economies 7 Health care 8 Nations of sub-Saharan Africa o 8.1 Central Africa o 8.2 East Africa o 8.3 Southern Africa o 8.4 West Africa o 8.5 Island nations 9 Notes 10 External links 11 Political maps of Sub-Saharan Africa

[edit] Poverty
The poverty rate as of 2004 was 41.09%, see Poverty, compared to the US rate of 12.7%, see Poverty in the United States

[edit] Geography

Sub-Saharan Africa covers an area of 24.3 million square kilometers.[2] Since around 5,400 years ago [1], the north and sub-Saharan regions of Africa have been separated by the extremely harsh climate of the sparsely populated Sahara, forming an effective barrier interrupted by only the Nile River in Sudan, though the Nile was blocked by the rivers cataracts. The peoples south of the Sahara developed in relative isolation from the rest of the world. The modern term sub-Saharan corresponds with the standard representation of North as above and South as below. Tropical Africa and Equatorial Africa are alternative modern labels, used for the distinctive ecology of the region. However, if strictly applied, this term would exclude South Africa, most of which lies outside the Tropics.

[edit] History
In 19th century Europe and the Western world, the area was sometimes referred to as "Black Africa." This was partly due to the skin color of its inhabitants and partly because much of it had not been fully mapped or explored by Westerners. Sub-Saharan Africa, especially East Africa, is regarded by most biologists and anthropologists as being the birthplace of the human race (the genus Homo). Mitochondrial Eve, from whom all humans alive are descended, is thought to have lived in present day Ethiopia or Tanzania. Sub-Saharan Africa has been the site of many empires and kingdoms, including the Axum, Wagadu (Ghana Empire), Mali, Nok, Songhai, Kanem, Bornu, Benin and Great Zimbabwe.

[edit] Critique of the term

The G8's Greater Middle East includes north-African countries Some object to the usage of the term and see it is as misleading and a racist colonial way of viewing Africa. [2][3][4][5] Academic and cultural writer Owen 'Alik Shahadah states "...This barrier of sand hence confined Africans to the bottom of this make-believe location, which exists neither linguistically, ethnically, politically or physically...Somalia and Djibouti are part of the same political Islamic alignment just like many so-called Arab countries." (See Arab League). Others such as P. Godfrey Okoth, Department of History University of California, states that European travelers and geographers created

the concept of "two Africas," sets up the removal of African contribution to world civilization.[5][2]

[edit] Demography
The population of sub-Saharan Africa was 770.3 million in 2006. [3] The current growth rate is 2.3%. The UN predict for the region a population of nearly 1.5 billion in 2050.[4]

[edit] Economies
Generally, sub-Saharan Africa is the poorest region in the world, suffering from the effects of economic mismanagement, local corruption and inter-ethnic conflict. The region contains many of the least developed countries in the world. (See Economy of Africa.)

[edit] Health care

In 1987, Bamako was the location of a WHO conference known as the Bamako Initiative that helped reshape the health policy of sub-Saharan Africa.[6] The new strategy dramatically increased accessibility through community-based healthcare reform, resulting in more efficient and equitable provision of services. A comprehensive approach strategy was extended to all areas of health care, with subsequent improvement in the health care indicators and improvement in health care efficiency and cost.[7][8] Up to and including October 2006 many governments face difficulties in implementing policies aimed at mitigating the effects of the AIDS-pandemic due to lack of technical support despite a number of mitigating measures.[9]

[edit] Nations of sub-Saharan Africa

There are 42 countries located on the sub-Saharan African mainland and 6 island nations. According to this classification scheme, the countries of sub-Saharan Africa are:

[edit] Central Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo Republic of Congo Central African Republic Rwanda Burundi

[edit] East Africa

Sudan Kenya Tanzania Uganda Djibouti Eritrea Ethiopia Somalia (including Somaliland)

[edit] Southern Africa

Angola Botswana Lesotho Malawi Mozambique Namibia South Africa Swaziland Zambia Zimbabwe

[edit] West Africa

Benin Burkina Faso Cameroon Chad Cte d'Ivoire Equatorial Guinea Gabon The Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Liberia Mali Mauritania Niger Nigeria So Tom and Prncipe Senegal Sierra Leone Togo

[edit] Island nations

Cape Verde (West Africa) Comoros (Southern Africa) Madagascar (Southern Africa) Mauritius (Southern Africa) So Tom and Prncipe (West Africa) Seychelles (East Africa)


Mayotte (France) Runion (France) Socotra (Yemen) Saint Helena and Ascension (UK)

[edit] Notes
1. ^ 2. ^ a b Shahadah, Owen 'Alik, Linguistics for a new African reality, first published at the Cheikh Anta Diop conference in 2005, retrieved July 15, 2007 3. ^ Nehusi, Kimani, Mental Enslavement, From Medew Netjer to Ebonics, retrieved July 17, 2007 4. ^ Muhammad, Andrew, Andrew Muhammad, chapter Hidden History, Free Your Mind, retrieved July 15, 2007 5. ^ a b Okoth, P. Godfrey The Truman Administration and the Decolonization of Sub-Saharan Africa Journal of Third World Studies, retrieved July 15, 2007: The idea of "Sub-Saharan Africa," is, therefore, 'a myth or misleading. It cannot be accepted as it tantamount to the balkanization of Africa, thereby denying Africa its rightful role in contributing to world civilization 6. ^ User fees for health: a background. Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 7. ^ Implementation of the Bamako Initiative: strategies in Benin and Guinea. Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 8. ^ Manageable Bamako Initiative schemes. Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 9. ^ [1]

[edit] External links

USA State department travel tips

[edit] Political maps of Sub-Saharan Africa

Countries Blind map [hide] v d e Regions of the world

Maghreb Northern Middle Caucasus Central Southern East Western Eastern Australasia North Northern Melanesia Oceania Anglo Middle Micronesia Americas Central Latin Polynesia Caribbean South Arctic Southern Cone Polar Antarctica Central Eastern (Far World East Asia-Pacific) Arctic Northern Southern Asia Atlantic (Indian subcontinent) Oceans Indian Southeastern Pacific Southwestern/Western Southern Western Central See also Continents of the world Europe Eastern Northern Southern Retrieved from "" Africa Categories: Regions of Africa

Book of Genesis
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Jump to: navigation, search

Adam and Eve by Titian "Genesis" redirects here. For other uses, see Genesis (disambiguation).

Genesis (Greek: "birth", "origin") is the first book of the Bible, and the first of five books of the pentateuch. It recounts the Judeo-Christian history of the world from the creation to the descent of the children of Israel into Egypt, and contains some of the best-known stories of the Old Testament, including Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, and the biblical Patriarchs. For Jews the theological importance of Genesis centers on the Covenants linking God to his Chosen People and the people to the Promised Land. Christianity has reinterpreted Genesis as the prefiguration of Christian beliefs, notably the Christian view of Christ as the new Adam and the New Testament as the culmination of the covenants. Structurally, Genesis consists of a "primeval history" (Genesis 1-11) and cycles of Patriarchal stories. The narrative of Joseph stands apart from these. Scholars see the book as the product of anonymous authors and editors working between the 10th and 5th centuries BC.[1]
Books of the Old Testament
(For details see Biblical canon)

Hebrew Bible or Tanakh Common to Judaism and Christianity

Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy Joshua Judges Ruth 12 Samuel 12 Kings 12 Chronicles Ezra (see Esdras for other names) Nehemiah Esther Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Songs Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Ezekiel Daniel Minor prophets

Included by Orthodox and Roman Catholics, but excluded by Jews and Protestants:

Tobit Judith 1 Maccabees 2 Maccabees Wisdom (of Solomon) Ben Sira Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah (Additions to Jeremiah) (included as Baruch chapter 6 by Roman Catholics) Additions to Daniel

Additions to Esther Included by Greek & Slavonic Orthodox:

1 Esdras (see Esdras for other names) 3 Maccabees Prayer of Manasseh (included in the Book of Odes)

Psalm 151 (included as an appendix to the Psalter) Included by Georgian Orthodox:

4 Maccabees

2 Esdras (also included in the Latin Vulgate Appendix) Included by Ethiopian Orthodox:

Apocalypse of Ezra (also in the Armenian Appendix) Jubilees Enoch 13 Meqabyan

4 Baruch Included in Syriac Peshitta Bible:

Psalms 152155 2 Baruch (Apocalypse of Baruch) Letter of Baruch (sometimes part of 2 Baruch)
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Torah | Nevi'im | Ketuvim

Books of the Torah 1. Genesis 2. Exodus 3. Leviticus 4. Numbers 5. Deuteronomy


1 Title 2 Summary o 2.1 Primeval history o 2.2 Abraham o 2.3 Isaac o 2.4 Jacob o 2.5 Joseph 3 Composition o 3.1 Manuscripts o 3.2 Composition 4 Themes o 4.1 Cosmology o 4.2 The religion of the Patriarchs o 4.3 Covenants 5 Genesis and subsequent tradition o 5.1 Christianity o 5.2 Islam 6 See also 7 Notes 8 Further reading 9 External links

9.1 Online texts and translations of Genesis

[edit] Title
"Genesis" derives from the Greek title , meaning "birth", "creation", "cause", "beginning", "source" or "origin", given to the book in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of Jewish scriptures made between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC. In Hebrew it is called ,B'reshit or Brth,[2] "in the beginning", from the first words of the text in Hebrew, in line with the other four books of the Torah.

[edit] Summary
Rolf Rendtorff's division of Genesis into a primeval history and Patriarchal cycles Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph - is followed here for convenience in organising the summary.

[edit] Primeval history

"In the beginning God[3] created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters." God creates light; the "firmament" separating "the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament;" dry land and seas and plants and trees which grew fruit with seed; the sun, moon and stars in the firmament; air-breathing sea creatures and birds; and on the sixth day, "the beasts of the earth according to their kinds." "Then God said, Let us make man in our image ... in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."[4] On the seventh day God rests from the task of completing the heavens and the earth: "So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation." God forms Adam "from the dust of the ground...and man became a living being."[5] God sets the man in the Garden of Eden and permits him to eat of all the fruit within it, except that of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, "for in the day that you eat of it you shall die." God makes "every beast of the field and every bird of the air, ... and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name ... but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him." God causes the man to sleep, and makes a woman from one of his ribs, and the man awakes and names his companion Woman, "because she was taken out of Man."[6] "And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed."[7] The serpent tells the woman that she will not die if she eats the fruit of the tree: "When you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God,[8] knowing good and evil." So the woman eats and gives to the man who also eats. "Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons." God curses the serpent: "upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life;" the woman he punishes with pain in childbirth and with subordination to man: "your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule

over you;" and the man he punishes with a life of toil: "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground." The man names his wife Eve,[9] "because she was the mother of all living." "Behold," says God, "the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil," and expels the couple from Eden, "lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever." The gate of Eden is sealed by a cherub and a flaming sword "to guard the way to the tree of life."[10] Adam and Eve have two sons, Cain and Abel, the first a farmer, the second a shepherd. Cain murders his brother, and, asked by God what has become of Abel, replies, "Am I my brother's keeper?" God then curses Cain: "When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength; you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." Cain fears that whoever meets him will kill him, but God places a mark on Cain, with the promise that "if any slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." Cain settles in the land of Nod,[11] "away from the presence of the Lord."[12] The descendants of Cain are Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, Methushael, and Lamech. Seth is born to replace Abel.[13] The generations of Adam are described, including Enoch, who "walked with God...[and] was no more, for God took him",[14] Methuselah, and Noah. The ante-antediluvian Patriarchs are notable for their extreme longevity, with Methuselah living 969 years. The list ends with the birth of Noah's sons, from whom all humanity is descended.[15] God sets the days of man at 120 years.[16] "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown."[17] Angered by the wickedness of mankind, God selects Noah,[18] "a righteous man, blameless in his generation," and commands him to build an Ark, and to take on it his family and representatives of the animals.[19] God destroys the world with a Flood,[20] and afterwards enters into a covenant with Noah and his descendants, the entire human race, promising never again to destroy mankind in this way.[21] Noah plants a vineyard, drinks wine, and falls into a drunken sleep. Ham "uncovers his fathers nakedness," and Noah places a curse on Ham's son Canaan, saying that he and all his descendants shall henceforth be slaves to Ham's brothers Shem and Japheth[22] The seventy generations of the descendants of Noah are named, "and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood."[23] Men decide to build "a tower with its top in the heavens" in the land of Shinar, "lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." God fears the ambition of mankind: "This is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." And so mankind is scattered over the face of the earth, and the city "was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth."[24][25]

The Generations of Shem brings the biblical genealogy down to the generation of Abraham.[26]

[edit] Abraham
Terah leaves Ur of the Chaldees with his son Abram,[27] Abram's wife Sarai, and his nephew Lot, the son of Abram's brother Haran, towards the land of Canaan. They settle in the city of Haran, where Terah dies.[28] God commands Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you, and I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves." So Abram and his people and flocks journey to the land of Canaan, where God appears to Abram and says, "To your descendants I will give this land.[29] Abram is forced by famine to go into Egypt, where Pharaoh takes possession of his wife, the beautiful Sarai, who Abram has misrepresented as his sister. God strikes the king and his house with plagues, so that he returns Sarai and expels Abram and all his people from Egypt.[30] Abram returns to Canaan and separates from Lot in order to put an end to disputes about pasturage. He gives Lot the valley of the Jordan River, as far as Sodom, whose people "were wicked, great sinners against the LORD." To Abram God says, "Lift up your eyes, and look ... for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants for ever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your descendants also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you."[31] Lot is taken prisoner during a war between the King of Shinar[32] and the King of Sodom and their allies, "four kings against five." Abram rescues Lot and is blessed by Melchizedek, king of Salem (the future Jerusalem) and "priest of God Most High". Abram refuses the King of Sodom's offer of the spoils of victory, saying: "I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, maker of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal-thong or anything that is yours, lest you should say, `I have made Abram rich.'"[33] God makes a covenant with Abram, promising that Abram's descendants shall be as numerous as the stars in the heavens, that they shall suffer oppression in a foreign land for four hundred years, but that they shall inherit the land "from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates."[34] Sarai, being childless, tells Abram to take his Egyptian handmaiden, Hagar, as wife. Hagar becomes pregnant with Ishmael,[35] and God appears to her to promise that the child will be "a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man's hand against him," whose descendants "cannot be numbered."[36]

God makes a covenant with Abram: Abram will have a numerous progeny and the possession of the land of Canaan, and Abram's name is changed to "Abraham"[37] and that of Sarai to "Sarah," and circumcision of all males is instituted as an external sign of the covenant. Abraham asks of God that Ishmael "might live in Thy sight," but God replies that Sarah will bear a son, who will be named Isaac,[38] and that it is with Isaac and his descendants that the covenant will be established. "As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But I will establish my covenant with Isaac."[39] God appears again to Abraham. Three strangers[40] appear, and Abraham receives them hospitably. God tells him that Sarah will shortly bear a son, and Sarah, overhearing, laughs: "After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?"[41] God tells Abraham that he will punish Sodom, "because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave." The strangers depart. Abraham protests that it is not just "to slay the righteous with the wicked," and asks if the whole city can be spared if even ten righteous men are found there. God replies: "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it."[42] The two[43] messengers are hospitably received by Lot. The men of Sodom surround the house and demand to have sexual relations with the strangers; Lot offers his two virgin daughters in place of the messengers, but the men refuse. Lot and his family are led out of Sodom, and Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed by fire-and-brimstone; but Lot's wife, looking back, is turned to a pillar of salt. Lot's daughters, fearing that they will not find husbands and that Lot's line will die out, make their father drunk and lie with him; their children become the ancestors of the Moabites and Ammonites.[44] Abraham represents Sarah as his sister before Abimelech,[45] king of Gerar. God visits a curse of barrenness upon Abimelech and his household and warns the king that Sarah is Abraham's wife, not his sister. Abimelech restores Sarah to Abraham, loads them both with gifts and sends them away.[46]

[edit] Isaac
Sarah gives birth to Isaac, saying, "God has made laughter for me, everyone who hears will laugh over me." At Sarah's insistence Ishmael and his mother Hagar are driven out into the wilderness. While Ishmael is near dying, an angel speaks to Hagar and promises that God will not forget them but will make of Ishmael a great nation; "Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, "... And God was with the lad, and he grew up..." Abraham enters into a covenant with Abimelech, who confirms his right to the well of Beer-sheba.[47] God puts Abraham to the test by demanding the sacrifice of Isaac. Abraham obeys; but, as he is about to lay the knife upon his son, God restrains him, promising him numberless descendants.[48] On the death of Sarah, Abraham purchases Machpelah for a family tomb[49] and sends his servant to Mesopotamia, Nahor's home, to find among his relations

a wife for Isaac; and Rebekah, Nahor's granddaughter, is chosen.[50] Other children are born to Abraham by another wife, Keturah, among whose descendants are the Midianites; and he dies in a prosperous old age and is buried in his tomb at Hebron.[51]

[edit] Jacob
Isaac's wife Rebecca is barren, but Isaac prays to God, and she gives birth to the twins Esau,[52] and Jacob.[53] While the twins were still in the womb God stated that the two would be forever divided, and that the elder would serve the younger. When they are older, Esau the hunter sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of red porridge, and "therefore his name was called Edom."[54] Isaac represents Rebekah as his sister before Abimelech, king of Gerar. Abimelech learns of the deception and is angered. Isaac is fortunate in all his undertakings in that country. His prosperity excites the jealousy of Abimelech, who sends him away; but the king sees that Isaac is blessed by God and makes a covenant with him at the well of Beer-sheba.[55] Jacob deceives his father Isaac and obtains the blessing of prosperity[56] which should have been Esau's. Fearing Esau's anger he flees to Haran, the home of his mother's brother Laban.[57] Isaac, prohibiting Jacob from marrying a Canaanite woman, tells him to go and marry one of Laban's daughters. On the way, Jacob falls asleep on a stone and dreams of a ladder stretching from Heaven to Earth and thronged with angels, and God promises him prosperity and many descendants; and when he awakes Jacob sets the stone as a pillar[58] and names the place Bethel.[59] Jacob hires himself to Laban on condition that, after having served for seven years as a herdsman, he shall marry the younger daughter, Rachel, with whom he is in love. At the end of this period Laban gives him the elder daughter, Leah, explaining that it is the custom to marry the elder before the younger. Jacob serves another seven years for Rachel, and he has sons by his two wives and their two handmaidens, the ancestors of the tribes of Israel. Jacob then works another six years, deceiving Laban to increase his flocks at his uncle's expense, and gains great wealth in sheep, goats, camels, donkeys and slave-girls. Jacob flees with his family and flocks from Laban; Laban pursues and catches him, but God warns Laban not to harm Jacob, and they are reconciled.[60] On approaching his home he is in fear of Esau, to whom he sends presents under the care of his servants, and then sends his wives and children away. "And Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day."[61] Neither Jacob nor the stranger can prevail, but the man touches Jacob's thigh[62] and pleads to be released before daybreak, but Jacob refuses to release the being until he agrees to give a blessing; the stranger then announces to Jacob that he shall bear the name "Israel", "for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed."[63] and is freed. "The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel,[64] limping because of his thigh."[65]

The meeting with Esau proves friendly, and the brothers are reconciled: "to see your face is like seeing the face of God," is Jacob's greeting. The brothers part, and Jacob settles near the city of Shechem.[66] Jacob's daughter Dinah goes out, and "Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humbled her".[67] Shechem asks Jacob for Dinah's hand in marriage, but the sons of Jacob deceive the men of Shechem and slaughter them and take captive their wives and children and loot the city. Jacob is angered that his sons have brought upon him the enmity of the Canaanites, but his sons say, "Should he treat our sister as a harlot?"[68] Jacob goes up to Bethel; there "God said to him, Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name. So his name was called Israel"; and Jacob sets up a stone pillar at the place and names it Bethel. He goes up to his father Isaac at Hebron, and there Isaac dies and is buried.[69]

[edit] Joseph
Jacob makes a coat of many colours[70] for his favourite son, Joseph. Jacob's son Judah takes a Canaanite wife and has two sons, Er and Onan; Er dies, and his widow Tamar, disguised as a prostitute, tricks Judah into having a child by her (Onan, who should have fathered the child, refused). She gives birth to twins, the elder of whom is Pharez, ancestor of the future royal house of David. Joseph's jealous brothers sell him to some Ishmaelites and show Jacob the coat, dipped in goat's blood, as proof that Joseph is dead. Meanwhile the Midianites[71] sell Joseph to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard,[72] but Potiphar's wife, unable to seduce Joseph, accuses him falsely, and he is cast into prison.[73] Here he correctly interprets the dreams of two of his fellow prisoners, the king's butler and baker.[74] Joseph next interprets the dream of Pharaoh, of seven fat cattle and seven lean cattle, as meaning seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, and advises Pharaoh to store grain during the good years. He is appointed second in the kingdom, and, in the ensuing famine, "all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth."[75] Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy grain. The brothers appear before Joseph, who recognizes them but does not reveal himself. After having proved them on this and on a second journey, and they having shown themselves so fearful and penitent that Judah even offers himself as a slave, Joseph reveals his identity, forgives his brothers the wrong they did him, and he promises to settle in Egypt both them and his father[76] Jacob brings his whole family to Egypt, where Pharaoh assigns to them the land of Goshen.[77] Jacob receives Joseph's sons Ephraim and Manasseh among his own sons,[78] then calls his sons to his bedside and reveals their future to them.[79] Jacob dies and is interred in the family tomb at Machpelah (Hebron). Joseph lives to see his great-grandchildren, and on his death-bed he exhorts his brethren, if God should remember them and lead them out of the country, to take his bones with them. The book ends with Joseph's remains being "put in a coffin in Egypt."[80]

Bereshit aleph, or the first chapter of Genesis, written on an egg, which is kept in the Israel Museum.

[edit] Composition
[edit] Manuscripts
The oldest extant Masoretic (Hebrew) manuscripts of Genesis are the Aleppo Codex dated to ca. 920 AD, and the Westminster Leningrad Codex dated to 1008 AD. There are also fragments of unvocalized Hebrew Genesis texts preserved in some Dead Sea scrolls (1st century BC). According to tradition the Torah was translated into Greek (the Septuagint, or 70, from the traditional number of translators) in the 3rd century BC. The oldest Greek manuscripts include 2nd century BC fragments of Leviticus and Deuteronomy[81] and 1st century BC fragments of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the Minor Prophets.[82] Relatively complete manuscripts of the Septuagint include the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus of the 4th century and the Codex Alexandrinus of the 5th centurythese are the oldest surviving nearlycomplete manuscripts of the Old Testament in any language. There are minor variations between the Greek and Hebrew texts, and between the three oldest Greek texts.

[edit] Composition
For much of the 20th century, academic scholarship on the origins of Genesis was dominated by the documentary hypothesis advanced by Julius Wellhausen in the late 19th century. This sees Genesis as a composite work assembled from originally independent sources: the J text, named for its use of the term YHWH (JHWH in German) as the name of God; the E text, named for its characteristic usage of the term "Elohim" for God; and the P, or Priestly source, named for its preoccupation with the Aaronid priesthood. These

texts were composed independently between 950 BC and 500 BC and underwent numerous processes of redaction, emerging in their current form in around 450 BC. Several anomalous sources not traceable to any of the three major documents have been identified, notably Genesis 14 (the battle of Abraham and the "Kings of the East"), and the "Blessing of Jacob" contained in the Joseph narrative. One such work, the Book of Generations, was used by the Redactor (final editor of the Pentateuch) to provide the narrative framework for Genesis, ten occurrences of the toledot (Hebrew "generations") formula introducing ten units of the book.[83] For centuries, Moses had been believed to have been the author of Genesis, and Wellhausen's hypothesis was thus received by traditionally-minded Jews and Christians as an attack on one of their central beliefs. But in the first half of the 20th century the science of Biblical archaeology, developed by William F. Albright and his followers, combined with the new methods of biblical scholarship known as source criticism and tradition history, developed by Hermann Gunkel, Robert Alter and Martin Noth, seemed to demonstrate that the stories of Genesis (or, at least, the stories of the Patriarchs; the early part of Genesisfrom the Creation to the Tower of Babelwere already regarded as legendary by mainstream scholarship) were based in genuinely ancient oral tradition grounded in the material culture of the 2nd millennium BC. Thus by the middle of the 20th century it seemed that archaeology and scholarship had reconciled Wellhausen with a modified version of authorship by Moses.[84] This consensus collapsed in the 1970s.[citation needed] The immediate cause was the publication of two seminal books, Thomas L. Thompson's "The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives" (1974), and John Van Seters's "Abraham in History and Tradition" (1975), both of which pointed out that the archaeological evidence connecting the author of Genesis to the 2nd millennium BC could equally well apply to the 1st millennium, and that oral traditions were not nearly so easily recoverable as Gunkel and others had said. A third influential work, R. N. Whybray's "The Making of the Pentateuch" (1987), analysed the assumptions underlying Wellhausen's work and found them illogical and unconvincing, and William G. Dever attacked the philosophical foundations of Albrightean biblical archaeology, arguing that it was neither desirable nor possible to use the bible to interpret the archaeological record. The theories currently being advanced can be divided into three[citation needed] revisions of Wellhausen's documentary model, of which Richard Elliot Friedman's is one of the better known;[85] fragmentary models such as that of R. N. Whybray, who sees the Torah as the product of a single author working from a multitude of small fragments rather than from large coherent source texts;[86] and supplementary models such as that advanced by John Van Seters, who sees in Genesis the gradual accretion of material over many centuries and from many hands.[87] The 19th century dating of the final form of Genesis and the Pentateuch to c. 500-450 BC continues to be widely accepted irrespective of the model adopted,[88] although a minority of scholars known as biblical minimalists argue for a date largely or entirely within the last two centuries BC.

Alongside these new approaches to the history of the text has come an increasing interest in the way the narratives tell their stories, concentrating not on the origins of Genesis but on its meaning, both for the society which produced it and for the modern day, placing "a new emphasis on the narrative's purpose to shape audiences' perceptions of the world around them and to instruct them in how to live in this world and relate to its God."[89]

[edit] Themes

The Flammarion woodcut portrays the cosmos as described in Genesis chapter 1.

[edit] Cosmology
Genesis 1-11 "appears to be a reformatting of motifs and characters from four Mesopotamian myths, Adapa and the South Wind, Atrahasis, the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Enuma Elish."[90] The Babylonian myths are inverted in the Hebrew retelling: for example, the Babylonian serpent-god Ningishzida is a friend of mankind who helps the human hero Adapa in his search for immortality, while Genesis' serpent is man's enemy, seeking to trick Adam out of the chance to attain immortality.[91] The inversions represent a rejection of the power of Babylon's gods in favour of the might of Yahweh; more than this, they replace the essentially optimistic worldview of the Mesopotamian mythos "things were not nearly as good to begin with as they have become since" - with a worldview in which the world was created perfect but grew steadily worse, "until God finally had to do away with all mankind except for the pious Noah who would beget a new and better stock."[92]

[edit] The religion of the Patriarchs

In 1929 Albrecht Alt proposed that the Hebrews arrived in Canaan at different times and as different groups, each with its nameless "gods of the fathers," In time these gods were assimilated with the Canaanite El, and names such as "El, God of Israel" emerged. The "God of Abraham" then became identified with the "God of Isaac" and so on. Finally

"Yahweh" was introduced in the Mosaic period. The authors of Genesis, living in a later period when Yahweh had become the only God, partly obscured and partly preserved this history in their attempt to demonstrate that the patriarchs shared their own monotheistic worship of Yahweh. According to Alt, the theology of the earliest period and of later fully-developed monotheistic Judaism were nevertheless identical: both Yahweh and the tribal gods revealed himself/themselves to the patriarchs, promised them descendants, and protected them in their wanderings; they in turn enjoyed a special relationship with their god, worshipped him, and established holy places in his honour. In 1934 Julius Lewy, drawing on the recently discovered Ugarit texts, argued that the "God of Abraham" was not anonymous, but was probably El Shaddai, "El of the Mountain", El being identified with a mythical holy mountain. The name Shaddai, however, remains mysterious, and has also been identified with both a specific city and with a Hebrew root meaning "breast".[93] In 1962 Frank Moore Cross concluded that the name Yahweh developed as one of the many epithets of El: "El the creator, he who causes to be." For Cross the continuity between El and Yahweh explained how the other El-names could continue to be used in Genesis, and why Baal - in Canaanite mythology a rival to El who gradually took over the father-god's position - was regarded with such hostility.[94] More recently, Mark S. Smith has returned to the Ugarit texts to show how polytheism "was a feature of Israelite religion down through the end of the Iron Age and how monotheism emerged in the seventh and sixth centuries."[95] In contrast to this picture of a Canaanite background to Genesis, Lloyd R. Bailey (1968) and E.L. Abel (1973) have suggested that Abraham worshipped Sin the Amorite moongod of Harran, pointing, among other things, to Abraham's association with Harran and Ur, both centres of the cult of Sin, to the epithet "Father of the gods" applied to Sin (comparable to Abram's name, "Exalted Father") and to the close similarity between names associated with Abraham and with Sin: Sarah/Sarratu (Sin's wife); Milcah/Malkatu (Sin's daughter); and Terah/Ter (a name of Sin).[96] M. Haran has also distinguished between Canaanite and Patriarchal religion, pointing out that the Patriarchs never worship at existing shrines but build their own, fitting a semi-nomadic lifestyle. He also points to the invocation of Shaddai by Baalam and the identification of the Patriarchal God with the "sons of Eber" in Genesis 10:21 as evidence that their god was not originally Canaanite. Gordon Wenham has pointed out that Il/El is a well-known member of the third-millennium Mesopotamian pantheon, concluding: "Whether El was ever identified with the moon god is uncertain. To judge from the names of Abraham's relations and the cult of his home town, his ancestors at least were moon-god worshippers. Whether he continued to honour this god identifying him with El, or converted to El, is unclear."[97]

[edit] Covenants
The covenants are a major theme in Genesis, "yet it has long been recognised that many of the promises are not original parts of the stories in which they are found."[98] Otto Eissfeldt, an early scholar of the Ugarit texts, recognised that in Ugarit the promise of a son was given to kings together with promises of blessing and numerous descendants, a

clear parallel to the pattern of Genesis. Claus Westermann, (1964 and 1976), analysing the Genesis covenants in the light of Ugarit and Icelandic sagas, came to the conclusion that the Patriarchal stories were usually lacking any promises in their original form. Westermann saw the promise of a son in Genesis 16:11 and 18:1-15 as genuine, as well as the promise of land behind 15:7-21 and 28:13-15; the rest he saw as representing later editors.[99] Rolf Rendtorff accepts Westermann's thesis that the Patriarchal stories were originally independent, and suggests that the promises were added to link the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob into cycles which grew through a process of gradual accretion into the final book. John Van Seters, in contrast, sees Genesis as a late and unified composition, from which it is impossible to excise the Covenants without doing damage to the overall narrative.[100]

[edit] Genesis and subsequent tradition

[edit] Christianity
The early Church, with its Jewish roots, assumed an authoritative nature for Genesis and based its own emerging theology on this and other Jewish holy texts. The author of the gospel of John paraphrased Genesis 1 to personify the eternal logos (Greek , "reason", "word", "speech"): "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." This passage marks the first definitive emergence of the distinctive Christian concept of the Trinity, and thus of Christianity's emerging break with Judaism in the late 1st century. The serpent of Eden became Satan, and Genesis 3:15, "He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel," became the Protevangelium, the "First Gospel", predicting the coming of the Messiah who would be victorious over evil and Satan; Jesus was interpreted as the "new Adam" who would redeem mankind from the sin of Eden, and the Ark of Noah became symbolic of the Church itself, offering salvation through the waters of baptism. The Abrahamic covenant was reinterpreted to further underline the separation from Judaism: God's promise of a chosen people had passed from the children of Abraham, who had rejected Jesus, and was bestowed upon all those who accepted the new Covenant between God, in the divine person of his Son, and his Church. Not only the general theology of Christianity but also specific narrative details of the new faith drew on the authority of Genesis: thus the three messengers who visit Abraham to announce the birth of Isaac are paralleled by an undisclosed number of magi who visit the infant Jesus; and the tale of Joseph in Egypt is echoed by the Holy Family's flight into Egypt.

[edit] Islam
Many of the stories from Genesis are retold in the Qur'an, with frequent variations. The Qur'an emphasises the moral stature of the Prophets; stories such as the drunkenness of Lot therefore find no place in it. While Islam accepts the Torah in principle, the view of Islamic scholarship is that the revelation given to earlier times had become somehow corrupted, and that the only valid text is that revealed by God to his prophet Mohammed.

The Qur'an is believed by them to be the final revelation, contains the essence of all previous revelations, including the Torah.

[edit] See also

Allegorical interpretations of Genesis Biblical Patriarchs Creation according to Genesis Dating the Bible Framework interpretation (Genesis) Genesis Rabba Kabbalah Origin belief Tanakh The Bible and history Weekly Torah portions in Genesis: Bereishit, Noach, Lech-Lecha, Vayeira, Chayei Sarah, Toledot, Vayetze, Vayishlach, Vayeshev, Miketz, Vayigash, Vayechi Wife-sister narratives in Genesis

[edit] Notes
1. ^ For an overview of major developments in biblical scholarship regarding the dating of Genesis and the Pentateuch (Torah) since the mid 20th century, see "Source Analysis", Barry Bandstra, Hope College, Michigan. 2. ^ Hebrew word #7225 in Strong's 3. ^ Genesis uses the words YHWH and Elohim (and El) for God; the combined form in Gen.2 and 3,YHWH Elohim, usually translated as "LORD God", is unique to these two chapters. 4. ^ The Hebrew for "man" can have the generalized meaning of "mankind", but creates problems with rendering pronouns in English translation. 5. ^ "The Hebrew term ( nefesh, being) is often translated soul, but the word usually refers to the whole person. The phrase ( nefesh khayyah, living being) is used of both animals and human beings." Netbible (see fn. 4) 6. ^ Ishah, woman, and ish, man 7. ^ Genesis 2. 8. ^ The Hebrew is in the plural: "You shall be as gods." 9. ^ Hebrew Havva, "life". 10. ^ Genesis 3. 11. ^ Literally, "in the land of Wandering". 12. ^ Genesis 4. 13. ^ Genesis 4. 14. ^ The meaning of this phrase at Genesis 5:24 was the subject of much discussion in later Jewish literature, being taken by the rabbinic commentators to mean that Enoch did not die.

15. ^ Genesis 5. 16. ^ The text seems to imply that God is limiting the human lifespan to 120 years, as reached by Moses; but many individuals after this point are recorded as living longer, and later Jewish commentators interpreted the passage to mean that God was giving mankind 120 years to repent before sending the Flood. 17. ^ Genesis 6. The term Nephilim is mentioned in Genesis, Enoch and Jubilees as applying to a pre-Flood race; but in Numbers 13:33 the Hebrew scouts sent to spy out the Promised Land report them as living there. References to "post-Flood Nephilim" gave rise to Talmudic traditions that their forebear, Og of Bashan, had survived the Deluge by clinging to the outside of the Ark. 18. ^ Hebrew "Rest": Noah's father Lamech gives this name to his son saying, "Out of the ground which the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands." (Gen.5:29) 19. ^ Genesis 6. 20. ^ Genesis 7. and Genesis 8. 21. ^ Genesis 9. God forbids the eating of flesh with blood, "that is, its life," still in it, forbids murder, and institutes the death penalty for murderers; in return, God promises never again to visit a deluge upon all the world, and places the first rainbow in the clouds as a sign of the covenant. 22. ^ Genesis 9. 23. ^ Genesis 10. 24. ^ Hebrew Babal, "confusion"; but if the story is based on the ziggurat of Babylon the etymology is incorrect, as the Akkadian "Babilu", the English Babylon, means "Gate of God". 25. ^ Genesis 11. 26. ^ Genesis 12. 27. ^ Hebrew ab, "father", plus ram, "exalted". 28. ^ Genesis 11. 29. ^ Genesis 12. 30. ^ Genesis 12. 31. ^ Genesis 13. 32. ^ An inexact location, but roughly equivalent to the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates. 33. ^ Genesis 14. 34. ^ Genesis 15. The "river of Egypt", traditionally identified not with the Nile but with Wadi el Arish in the Sinai, and the Euphrates, represent the supposed bounds of Israel at its height under Solomon. 35. ^ Hebrew Yishmael, "God will hear". 36. ^ Genesis 16. 37. ^ The name Abraham has no meaning in Hebrew. It is traditionally supposed to signify "Father of Multitudes," although the Hebrew for this would be "Abhamon". 38. ^ Hebrew Yitzhak, "he laughed," sometimes rendered as "he rejoiced" - three explanations of the name are given, the first in this chapter where Abraham laughs when told that Sarah will bear a son. 39. ^ Genesis 17.

40. ^ Often translated as "angels", but the Hebrew refers to men. 41. ^ The second explanation of the name Isaac - in the first, at chapter 17, it is Abraham who laughs. 42. ^ Genesis 18. Abraham's intercession on behalf of the people of Sodom is the foundation of the important Jewish tradition of righteousness. 43. ^ Genesis 18 describes three messengers, Genesis 19 two. The traditional gloss is that God was one of the three who came to Abraham and stayed with him while the other two went on to Sodom. 44. ^ Genesis 19. 45. ^ Literally, "father-king", apparently a title. 46. ^ Genesis 20. 47. ^ Genesis 21. 48. ^ Genesis 22. 49. ^ Genesis 23. 50. ^ Genesis 24. 51. ^ Genesis 25. 52. ^ Hebrew Esav, "made" or "completed". 53. ^ Hebrew Yaakov, from a root meaning "crooked, bent", usually interpreted as meaning "heel" - according to the narrative he was born second, holding Esau's heel. The precise meaning is unclear. 54. ^ Edom, literally "red". Genesis 25. 55. ^ Genesis 26. 56. ^ "May God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. 29: Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be every one who curses you, and blessed be every one who blesses you!" (Genesis 27:28-29) 57. ^ Genesis 27. 58. ^ Traditionally the place where this pillar is erected is identified as the site of the Holy of Holies within the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem. 59. ^ Genesis 28. The name Bethel in Hebrew and related West Semitic languages means "House of El;" in later Jewish tradition the name was taken to mean "House of God." 60. ^ Genesis 31. 61. ^ Literally, "a stranger," traditionally interpreted as an angel or as God. 62. ^ Hebrew wayyiga bekap-yereko. This is usually translated as "struck (or touched) the hollow of his thigh"; but yerek is also applied to male or female genitals, suggesting that the intended meaning is that the stranger seized Jacob's scrotum, and Jacob's subsequent injury can be construed as a hernia rather than a dislocated hip or thigh. See Lyle Eslinger, "The Case of an Immodest Lady Wrestler", Vetus Testamentum, XXXI 3 (1981), pp273-274 63. ^ Hebrew Yisrael, "He will struggle with God;" but the second part of the quoted verse can be translated as: "for you have become great (sar) before God and men," implying that "Israel" means "He will be great (sar) before God." 64. ^ Penuel or Peniel, literally "Face of God" - the sentence connects the mysterious stranger and the following passage about the meeting with Esau.

65. ^ Genesis 32. 66. ^ Genesis 33. 67. ^ This passage is traditionally taken to mean that Shechem raped rather than seduced Dinah, but the text is not conclusive. 68. ^ Genesis 34. 69. ^ Genesis 35. 70. ^ Hebrew Kethoneth passim This is traditionally translated as "coat of many colours", but can also mean long sleeves, or embroidered. Whatever translation is chosen, it means a royal garment. 71. ^ The merchants are described first as Ishmaelites and later as Midianites. There have been many attempts to reconcile the discrepancy. 72. ^ Genesis 37. 73. ^ [ Genesis 39.] 74. ^ Genesis 40. 75. ^ Genesis 41. 76. ^ Genesis 42-45. 77. ^ Genesis 46-47. 78. ^ Genesis 48. 79. ^ Genesis 49. 80. ^ Genesis 50. The Book of Joshua describes the later burial of Joseph's bones in Shechem following the Exodus from Egypt. 81. ^ Rahlfs nos. 801, 819, and 957 82. ^ Rahlfs nos. 802, 803, 805, 848, 942, and 943 83. ^ See Frank Moore Cross, The Priestly Work, in "Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic", 1973. The toledot are: 1. The generations of the heavens and the earth (2:4). 2. The generations of Adam (5:1). 3. The generations of Noah (6:9). 4. The generations of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah (10:1). 5. The generations of Shem (11:10). 6. The generations of Terah (11:27). 7. The generations of Ishmael (25:12). 8. The generations of Isaac (25:19). 9. The generations of Esau (36:1, 9). 10. The generations of Jacob (37:2). 84. ^ See Gordon Wenham, "Pentateuchal Studies Today", Themelios 22.1, October 1996. 85. ^ Richard Elliot Friedman, "The Bible with Sources Revealed", 2003. 86. ^ R. N. Whybray, "The Making of the Pentateuch: A Methodological Study", JSOT Press, Sheffield, 1987. 87. ^ John Van Seters, "Abraham in History and Tradition", Yale University Press, ISBN 0300040407, 1975. 88. ^ For an overview of current critical theories on the origins of the Pentateuch, see Source Analysis: Revisions and Alternatives. For a more detailed treatment, see "An overlooked message: the critique of kings and affirmation of equality in the primeval history" from Biblical Theology Bulletin, Winter 2006.

89. ^ "What's New in Interpreting Genesis", 1995 90. ^ "Genesis' Genesis, The Hebrew Transformation of the Ancient Near Eastern Myths and Their Motifs. 91. ^ "Genesis' Genesis, The Hebrew Transformation of the Ancient Near Eastern Myths and Their Motifs. See the end of the article for a full list of the inversions in Genesis 1-11. 92. ^ T. Jacobson, "The Eridu Genesis", JBL 100, 1981, pp.529, quoted in Gordon Wenham, "Exploring the Old Testament: The Pentateuch", 2003, p.17. 93. ^ See Biblical Studies Org. and David Biale, "The God With Breasts: El Shaddai in the Bible, 1982. 94. ^ Frank Moore Cross, "Yahweh and the God of the Patriarchs, 1962 and 1973. 95. ^ Mark S. Smith, "The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts", 2002. Review of "Origins of Biblical Monotheism", Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, Vol. 4 (2002-2003). 96. ^ Lloyd Bailey, "Israelite El Sadday and Amorite Bel Sade" and E.L. Abel, "The Nature of the Patriarchal God El Sadday". 97. ^ Gordon J. Wenham, "The Religion of the Patriarchs" 98. ^ J.A. Emerton, "The Origin of the Promises to the Patriarchs in the Older Sources of the Book of Genesis". 99. ^ Westermann distinguished four types of promise: a son; descendents; blessing; land. He regarded promises as early if they were not combined and if they were intrinsic to the narrative. 100. ^ Summarised from "The Patriarchs: History and Religion".

[edit] Further reading

Umberto Cassuto, From Noah to Abraham. Eisenbrauns, 1984. ISBN 965-223540-7 (A scholarly Jewish commentary.) Isaac M. Kikawada & Arthur Quinn, Before Abraham was The Unity of Genesis 1-11. Nashville, Tenn., 1985. (A challenge to the Documentary Hypothesis.) Nehama Leibowitz, New Studies in Bereshit, Genesis. Jerusalem: Hemed Press, 1995. (A scholarly Jewish commentary employing traditional sources.) Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings. Baker Books, 1981. ISBN 0-8010-6004-4 (A creationist Christian commentary.) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), In the Beginning. Edinburgh, 1995. (A Catholic understanding of the story of Creation and Fall.) Jean-Marc Rouvire, Brves mditations sur la cration du monde. L'Harmattan Paris, 2006. Nahum M. Sarna, Understanding Genesis. New York: Schocken Press, 1966. (A scholarly Jewish treatment, strong on historical perspective.) Nahum M. Sarna, The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989. (A mainstream Jewish commentary.) E. A. Speiser, Genesis, The Anchor Bible. Volume 1. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1964. (A translation with scholarly commentary and

philological notes by a noted Semitic scholar. The series is written for laypeople and specialists alike.) Bruce Vawter, On Genesis: A New Reading. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1977. (An introduction to Genesis by a fine Catholic scholar. Genesis was Vawter's hobby.) Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis. New York: Doubleday, 1995. (A scholarly Jewish commentary employing traditional sources.)

[edit] External links

[edit] Online texts and translations of Genesis

Bereshit with commentary in Hebrew Bereishit - Genesis (Hebrew - English at Hebrew Audiobook of Genesis from Librivox Young's Literal Translation (YLT) New International Version (NIV) New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Westminster-Leningrad codex Aleppo Codex