Magazine article Anglican Journal

Bible `Promotes' Colonialism: Scholar Prescribes Penance for Wrongs

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Bible `Promotes' Colonialism: Scholar Prescribes Penance for Wrongs

Article excerpt

ECUMENICAL NEWS INTERNATIONAL

London

A Roman Catholic scholar in Britain has called on the Christian churches to do penance for centuries of colonialism carried out in the name of the Bible, which he believes portrays God in the role of an "ethnic cleanser."

The tradition of the Bible's first six books (Genesis to Joshua) "not only justifies but also demands ethnic cleansing," according to Michael Prior, of the University of Surrey, the author of a new book on the Bible and colonialism. The biblical narratives describe how the ancient Israelites conquered the land of Canaan, destroying everything in their path, and killing most of the indigenous population of the area.

In the name of scripture, this tradition has been followed, Mr. Prior believes, in Latin America, in South Africa and in modern Palestine, among many other examples.

He told ENI in an interview: "The problems are not in the interpretations of the Bible, they are in the text itself."

When he began the research for his newly published book, The Bible and Colonialism: A Moral Critique, he was "astonished at how little attention has been given by scholars and commentators to the Bible's effects on indigenous people. …

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