Black Presence in the Bible: a Review

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BOOK REVIEW REVIEWER
Author: Walter Arthur McCray Name: Isiorhovoja U. Osbert Title: The Black Presence in the BibleDelta State University, Abraka. and the Table of Nations Genesis 10:1-32
Place: Maryknoll, New York
Publisher: Black Light Fellowship
Date: 1990
Pages: 11-59

The Homeward Journey to the Black’s Root
Introduction
There is recourse today for many to trace history to their root or ancestral home in order to know their background. There are many scholars who have devoted themselves to this course, that of tracing Black/African presence in the Bible. Adamo (2009) argues in favour of the African presence in the Table of Nations which he traced to the root, using name as a means of proper identification, “What is a name?”

Towards the Discovery of the Self
McCray undertook a rather rigorous yet a thorough and fruitful journey of exploration into Genesis 10. He explicates on the genealogies of Noah with his children: Japheth, Ham and Shem. The relevance of these lengthy listing of names rest on the fact that a name is more than a handle used for identification purpose. Among Africans, it is being used as a symbol and sign, mark of identification of the people and what they may have experienced. Thus, it can express the identity of the bearer in relation to his/her people or God as noted by Mbiti (1991). Genesis 10 gives an understanding about the people mentioned as well as their inert-relationships of the ancient people hence; it is expedient to explore the text. Here we find the origin and classification of the nations in the ancient world that provides basic information about the nations and groups of people which are recorded in unique passages of the scripture and ancient historical document, the most voluminous of the ancient world. It characterised the Noahic family tree. Consequently, all nations today can adequately be traced back to a person or people identified in Genesis 10. Felder (1991) perceived the whole idea of Genesis 10 as sacralization. A term he used to decry the preference for the sons of Shem as the tribe. He argues that the genealogies in Genesis 10 should be examined in conjunction with the account in 1 Chronicles 1:1-2: 55. He decried the quick admittance by readers of the purported comprehensive listing catalogue that consist of a series of sacralization in order to accord a nation more importance than the other. Noth (1981) shows that Genesis 10 represents a conflation of two groups – The Jahwist (J) and Priestly (P) traditions that are separated by centuries which also account for the discrepancies in identifying the land of Cush; the relationship between Cush and Sheba, the difference between Seba and Sheba. Genesis 10 mentions Seba as the son of Cush whereas Sheba is the grandson of Cush according to Genesis 10:8. Hence the text is identifying the descendants of Ham. Again, in Genesis 10:28, the text introduces an anomaly as it points Sheba as a direct descendant of Shem and not of Ham. Otto (1965) attributed the sacralization to the similarity between the two Hebrew letters – samech (s) of Sheba and its equivalent shin (s) that are interchangeable in Old South Arabic. Hence, one could argue that Genesis 10 presents two persons named as Sheba as a descendant of Shem. Felder (1991) on his treatment of the Old Testament genealogies, notes that a critical study, illuminates theological motives that inevitably yielded an increasing tendencies to arrange difference in priorities, thereby attaching the greatest significance to the Israelites as an ethnic and national entity, greater than all other people of the earth. Such instance is recorded about Miriam and Aaron’s narratives which show the sacralization of their intention of predilection for the nation of Israel (Felder, 1989). While at first glance Genesis 10 has the appearance of being a single listing of ancient nations, biblical criticism has for sometime demonstrated that Genesis 10...
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