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Race and the Bible

Exploring the Context and Afterlife of Troublesome Holy Texts

Are the British the "lost tribes of Israel"? Does the Bible condemn interracial marriage? Is there "racism" in the ancient world? In the Americas, South Africa, and elsewhere the Bible has been used as a tool of oppression to justify slavery, colonialism, and massacre but also as a tool for the fight for justice and racial equality. In this pre-recorded lecture, Dr. Ratzman explores some of the obscure Biblical episodes that were mobilized over the centuries to underwrite racism, slavery, and colonialism. By understanding the original contexts and their modern interpretations, we can see how holy texts play a role in justifying – and combatting – racism and injustice.

Faculty Member: Elliot Ratzman
Discussion Date: May 13, 2021 at 1 p.m. CT

Meet Professor Ratzman

Elliot Ratzman teaches courses on Judaism, race, philosophy of religion, religious ethics and social justice, and the modern religious experience. He was a Jewish Studies Fellow at Lawrence University, a scholar at Penn State’s Humanities Institute, and a visiting professor at Swarthmore College. His first book, “Between Precarity and Power: A Jewish Reckoning with Race” (in progress) addresses Jews and antiracism in the US, Israel/Palestine, and Europe since 1967. At Grinnell College, he will be teaching: “Racism, Antisemitism, and Religion,” “Protest and Piety: Religion & Contemporary Social Movements,” “Reading Martin Luther King: Intellectual Sources for the Civil Rights Movement,” and “Religion and Science.” Alongside of teaching, Ratzman has been involved with movements for global health equity, Middle East peace, and economic justice. He is the academic advisor for the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, serves on the editorial board for Religious Socialism, and was a contributing editor for Heeb Magazine.

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Thursday May 13
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
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