Exodus and Emancipation: Biblical and African-American Slavery • reviewed by Able Greenspan
Synopsis: Presenting a new perspective on the saga of the enslavement of the Jewish people and their departure from Egypt, “Exodus and Emancipation: Biblical and African-American Slavery” by Kenneth Chelst (who received his rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University) is study that compares the Jewish experience with that of African-American slaves in the United States, as well as the latter group’s subsequent fight for dignity and equality.
This detailed study dives deeply into the biblical narrative, using classical and modern commentaries to explore the social, psychological, religious, and philosophical dimensions of the slave experience and mentality. It draws on slave narratives, published letters, eyewitness accounts, and recorded interviews with former slaves, together with historical, sociological, economic, and political analyses of this era.
“Exodus and Emancipation” explores and examines with insightful detail the five major needs of every long-term victim and journeys through these five stages with the Israelite and the African-American slaves on their historical path toward physical and psychological freedom. This rich, multi-dimensional collage of parallel and contrasting experiences is specifically designed to enrich readers’ understanding of the plight of these two groups.
Critique: An impressively informed and informative work of seminal scholarship, “Exodus and Emancipation: Biblical and African-American Slavery” is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that “Exodus and Emancipation” is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).