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Africa and the Bible

ISBN: 9781441253149

Digital Logos Edition

Logos Editions are fully connected to your library and Bible study tools.



Two hundred years ago, the “curse of Ham” was used to legitimize slavery. Both Ethiopians and Arabians claim the queen of Sheba, and it is thought that Moses and Jesus may have been black.

Much has been said about the connection between Africa and the Bible. Unfortunately, despite numerous references to Africa and Africans in the Bible, most scholarly works exploring ancient Africa ignore biblical references. On the other hand, contemporary afrocentric biblical studies often ignore the wealth of archaeological discoveries and historical discussions bearing on the subject. With Africa and the Bible, well-respected scholar Edwin Yamauchi fills these voids, offering a scholarly interpretation that integrates biblical exegesis, archaeological evidence, and recent historical discussions.

Africa and the Bible explores the historical and archaeological background of biblical texts that deal with Africa and the Bible, examines the exegesis of these texts, and traces the ramifications of later interpretations and misinterpretations of these texts. Yamauchi deals with such topics as the curse of Ham’s son Canaan, Moses’ Cushite wife, the Ethiopian eunuch, Simon the Cyrene, and afrocentric biblical interpretation. Along the way, he dispels myths, interacts with current theories, and provides sound judgments as to what the Bible does and does not say.

Students and scholars of the Bible, of African studies, and of global Christianity will appreciate the extra features Yamauchi employs. He includes photographs, maps, charts, an appendix critiquing Martin Bernal’s Black Athena, and Scripture, author, and subject indexes. An extensive bibliography of more than 300 entries will guide readers to the diverse literature associated with the connections between Africa and the Bible. Lay readers interested in history and the Bible will enjoy the book’s insightful comments and accessible style.

The Logos Bible Software edition of this volume is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of Scripture. Biblical passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about the Word of God.

Africa and the Bible was a Christianity Today Book Award winner.

Resource Experts
  • Focuses on the relationships between ancient Africa and the Bible
  • Discusses the context of Africa and its cultures
  • Includes a variety of detailed diagrams, maps, and photographs to illustrate points
  • The Curse of Ham
  • Moses’ Cushite Wife
  • Solomon and Africa
  • Tirhakah and Other Cushites
  • Rome and Meroe
  • Why the Ethiopian Eunuch Was Not from Ethiopia
  • Cyrene in Libya
  • Afrocentric Biblical Interpretation
  • Appendix: Martin Bernal’s Black Athena Reviewed

Top Highlights

“The Hamitic thesis even influenced the Belgians to favor the fairer and taller Tutsi over the darker Hutu, which contributes to the deadly enmity between these two tribes even today.” (Pages 29–30)

“Jewish post-biblical interpretations as the source of the curse of Ham” (Page 23)

“Candace was the title of the ruler over the ‘black’ kingdom of Meroe” (Page 164)

“‘men of this race are called Negroes,’ is not in the Hebrew text but was an explanation inserted by Graves and Patai.” (Page 25)

“most common name used by Greeks of black-skinned peoples living south of Egypt was Aithiops (lit., sunburned face” (Page 41)

Sensitive both to Afrocentric interests and to data from ancient Egypt and elsewhere, this work reveals, as his works always do, Professor Yamauchi’s brilliant multidisciplinary competence. He interacts respectfully with different views, and even those who disagree with some elements of his approach or would welcome an even fuller exploration of some issues will find the book a rich treasure of resources. Few readers of the Bible have had access to the information he provides about Nubia and the Nubian Pharaohs of Egypt.

Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

Writing in a refreshing style that carefully abstains from scholarly obfuscation, Yamauchi has collated an extraordinary range of scholarly data on the historical and archaeological background of the biblical texts dealing with Africa. His efforts provide the reader with a primary source of information for everything from the Queen of Sheba to Black Athena.

—Donald White, professor emeritus, classical studies, University of Pennsylvania

Drawing on a vast range of sources—ancient and modern, literary and archaeological—Yamauchi offers a superb discussion of the major questions concerning the relationships between the Bible and Africa. His final chapter presents an especially helpful response to contemporary Afrocentric approaches to the Scriptures. This fascinating study will be welcomed by those who need an introduction to the issues and those who are looking for a foundation for further study.

Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

At a time when Africans are forming an increasing proportion of the world’s Christians and Africa is becoming one of the major theaters of Christian life and activity, the issue of Africa’s place in the Bible takes on a new importance. How valuable it is, then, to have such a volume as this—thorough, sober, succint, learned and judicious.

—Andrew F. Walls, honorary professor, University of Edinburgh

  • Title: Africa and the Bible
  • Author: Edwin Yamauchi
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 304

Edwin Yamauchi (b. 1937), a noted Christian author and specialist in Near Eastern Studies, is Professor of History Emeritus at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


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  1. John W Jones

    John W Jones


    This book is a must read.
  2. Simuel Jefferson