Front cover image for The baptism of early Virginia : how Christianity created race

The baptism of early Virginia : how Christianity created race

In The Baptism of Early Virginia, Rebecca Anne Goetz examines the construction of race through the religious beliefs and practices of English Virginians. She finds the seventeenth century a critical time in the development and articulation of racial ideologies - ultimately in the idea of "hereditary heathenism," the notion that Africans and Indians were incapable of genuine Christian conversion. In Virginia in particular, English settlers initially believed that native people would quickly become Christian and would form a vibrant partnership with English people. After vicious Anglo-Indian violence dashed those hopes, English Virginians used Christian rituals like marriage and baptism to exclude first Indians and then Africans from the privileges enjoyed by English Christians - including freedom. Resistance to hereditary heathenism was not uncommon, however. Enslaved people and many Anglican ministers fought against planters' racial ideologies, setting the stage for Christian abolitionism in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Using court records, letters, and pamphlets, Goetz suggests new ways of approaching and understanding the deeply entwined relationship between Christianity and race in early America. -- Book jacket
Print Book, English, ©2012
Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, ©2012
Prof's picks 2013 11 (Nov) Prichard
xiii, 223 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm.
9781421407005, 9781421419817, 1421407000, 1421419815
Introduction: Potential Christians and hereditary heathens in Virginia
English Christians among the Blackest nations
The rise and the fall of the Anglo-Indian Christian commonwealth
Faith in the blood
Baptism and the birth of race
Becoming Christian, Becoming white
The children of Israel
Epilogue: Christian abolitionism and proslavery Christianity