Chosen peoples

The Bible, race and empire in the long nineteenth century

Edited by Gareth Atkins, Shinjini Das and Brian Murray

Chosen peoples


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4304-4
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: February 2020
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Modern / 19th Century, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, RELIGION / History, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / History of religion, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


Chosen peoples demonstrates how biblical themes, ideas and metaphors shaped racial, national and imperial identities in the long nineteenth century. Even as radical new ideas challenged the historicity of the Bible, biblical notions of lineage, descent and inheritance continued to inform understandings of race, nation and empire. European settler movements portrayed 'new' territories across the seas as lands of Canaan, but if many colonised and conquered peoples resisted the imposition of biblical narratives, they also appropriated biblical tropes to their own ends. These innovative case-studies throw new light on familiar areas such as slavery, colonialism and the missionary project, while forging exciting cross-comparisons between race, identity and the politics of biblical translation and interpretation in South Africa, Egypt, Australia, America and Ireland.


Introduction - Gareth Atkins, Shinjini Das and Brian H. Murray
Part I: Peoples and lands
1 'A bad and dangerous book?': the biblical identity politics of the Demerara Slave Rebellion - John Coffey
2 Babylon, the Bible and the Australian Aborigines - Hilary M. Carey
3 'The Ships of Tarshish': the Bible and British Maritime Empire - Gareth Atkins
4 Jeremiah in Tara: British Israel and the Irish past - Brian H. Murray
Part II: The Bible in transit and translation
5 The British and Foreign Bible Society's Arabic Bible translations: a study in language politics - Heather J. Sharkey
6 Empire and nation in the politics of the Russian Bible - Stephen K. Batalden
7 Contested identity: the Veda as an alternative to the Bible - Dorothy Figueira
8 'The Bible makes all nations one': Biblical literacy and Khoesan national renewal in the Cape Colony - Jared McDonald
9 Distinction and dispersal: the nineteenth-century roots of segregationist folk theology in the American South - Stephen R. Haynes
10 Afterword/afterlife: identity, genealogy, legacy - David N. Livingstone
Select bibliography


Gareth Atkins is Bye-Fellow and College Lecturer in History at Queens' College, Cambridge

Shinjini Das is a Lecturer in Modern Extra-European History at the University of East Anglia

Brian Murray is Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature at King's College London

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