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The Forging of Races
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  • Page extent: 318 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.64 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 270.8089
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: BT734 .K53 2006
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Race--Biblical teaching
    • Race--Religious aspects--Christianity
    • Bible--Criticism, interpretation, etc

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521793247 | ISBN-10: 0521793246)

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The Forging of Races Cambridge University Press
978-0-521-79324-7 - THE FORGING OF RACES - by Colin Kidd


This book revolutionises our understanding of race. Building upon the insight that races are products of culture rather than biology, Colin Kidd demonstrates that the Bible-the key text in Western culture-has left a vivid imprint on modern racial theories and prejudices. Fixing his attention on the changing relationship between race and theology in the Protestant Atlantic world between 1600 and 2000, Kidd shows that, while the Bible itself is colour-blind, its interpreters have imported racial significance into the scriptures. Kidd's study probes the theological anxieties which lurked behind the confident façade of white racial supremacy in the age of empire and race slavery, as well as the ways in which racialist ideas left their mark upon new forms of religiosity. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the histories of race or religion.

COLIN KIDD is Professor of Modern History at the University of Glasgow and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He has previously written Subverting Scotland’s Past: Scottish Whig Historians and the Creation of an Anglo-British Identity, 1689–1830 (1993) and British Identities Before Nationalism: Ethnicity and Nationhood in the Atlantic World, 1600–1800 (1999).


Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600–2000


Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 2RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Colin Kidd 2006

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2006

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication data

Kidd, Colin.
The forging of races: race and scripture in the Protestant Atlantic world, 1600 – 2000 / Colin Kidd.
  p. cm.
   Includes bibliographical references and index.

1. Race – Biblical teaching.
2. Race – Religious aspects – Christianity.
3. Bible – Criticism, interpretation, etc. I. Title.
BT734.k53 2006

ISBN-13 978-0-521-79324-7 hardback
ISBN-10 0-521-79324-6 hardback

ISBN-13 978-0-521-79729-0 paperback
ISBN-10 0-521-79729-2 paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


Acknowledgementspage vii
1Prologue: Race in the Eye of the Beholder1
2Introduction: Race as Scripture Problem19
3Race and Religious Orthodoxy in the Early Modern Era54
4Race, the Enlightenment and the Authority of Scripture79
5Monogenesis, Slavery and the Nineteenth-Century Crisis of Faith121
6The Aryan Moment: Racialising Religion in the Nineteenth Century168
7Forms of Racialised Religion203
8Black Counter-Theologies247


I should like to thank all those who agreed to look at the draft typescript: Brian Young, Charles Webster and Noel Malcolm. As ever I owe an enormous debt to Scott Mandelbrote, who was a fund of bibliographical knowledge. At an early stage Professor David Livingstone kindly passed on various helpful offprints, and I should like to signal my gratitude for the enormous help I derived from his pioneering overviews of the nineteenth-century debate on pre-Adamism. I am also indebted to the anonymous readers for Cambridge University Press who made such helpful suggestions and at the press itself to William Davies, Michael Watson and Isabelle Dambricourt, as well as Karen Anderson Howes, who once again took on the task of copy-editing my work. Caroline Erskine helped with the preparation of the text for delivery to the press, and Valerie Wallace did a valiant job compiling the index. Lucy, Susan and Adam did their bit.

I should also like to thank librarians at various institutions: the Glasgow University Library and its inter-library loan service; the Mitchell Library, Glasgow; the National Library of Scotland; New College Library, Edinburgh; the Bodleian Library; the Library of Congress; and the New York Public Library and its uptown outpost, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Harlem.

Finally, it seems appropriate to pay tribute to the memory of my grandfather, Andrew Kidd, who died in 1976. After his small fruit business collapsed during the Second World War, he became a coach driver, and in the late spring of 1969 he drove a party of Mormon missionaries around the United Kingdom. At the conclusion of the trip they presented him with a copy of the Book of Mormon, which I have in my possession. Its tantalising presence on my bookshelves provided an inspiration for part of what follows.

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