The Agony of Asar: A Thesis on Slavery by the Former Slave, Jacobus Eliza Johannes 1717-1747 / Edition 1

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Written by the first former slave to receive a college degree in Holland, The Agony of Asar: A Thesis on Slavery by the Former Slave, Jacobus Eliza Johannes Capitein, 1717-1747, is a landmark work in the history of African slavery, newly translated into English. Contrary to most intellectuals of his day, Capitein believed that slavery and Christianity were compatible, because he viewed freedom as a spiritual matter and not a physical one. Duke University history professor Grant Parker ably guides the modern reader through Capitein's arguments and insights. ( Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Represents the first scholarly work by an African on the subject of slavery, originally presented as the author's thesis at Leyden University, 1742. Capitein analyzes the concept of freedom in scripture and concludes that it is spiritual rather than physical, and therefore has no civic consequences. He provides a sweeping genealogy of western thought on slavery, citing texts from the Bible, from Greco-Roman antiquity, and from early modern Europe. Translator Grant Parker's commentary includes a brief survey of African intellectuals in 18th-century Europe. Includes a facsimile of the original text. Lacks a subject index. Parker is affiliated with Duke University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558761261
  • Publisher: Wiener, Markus Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.99 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword vii
The Agony of Asar: an introduction to the life and work of Capitein 1
I. A life: servitude and aftermath 7
1. An orphan in the Netherlands 7
2. Unhappy returns: Elmina, 1742-1747 11
3. Potentially parallel lives: Equiano and Capitein 17
II. The West Indies Company and the Dutch slave trade 19
1. The birth and slow demise of a seaborne empire 19
2. White man's burden: Christian mission 33
III. Capitein's writings in overview 38
1. Missiology 38
2. A scholar and an African 43
IV. Capitein's dissertation in context 56
1. A history of Ham's curse: Christianity and slavery 56
2. Antislavery sentiment in the Netherlands 66
V. Conclusions 73
Defining slavery: ownership and social death 73
Jacobus Elisa Johannes Capitein: Political-theological dissertation examining the question: Is slavery compatible with Christian freedom or not? 79
Preface: To the reader 81
Chapter 1 Which defines slavery and proposes the subject of inquiry 95
Chapter 2 Which explores the ancient origin of slavery and shows that nearly all societies made use of it 97
Chapter 3 Which proves that slavery and Christianity are not antithetical 103
Appendix 1. Two prefaces to Capitein's translation of religious texts 133
[The translator] to the Christian reader 133
The publisher to the reader 134
Appendix 2. African intellectuals in 18th-century Europe 136
Appendix 3. Capitein and his world: a select bibliography 153
Abbreviations used in the endnotes 157
Notes to the introduction 158
Notes to Capitein's dissertation 171
Index 181
Map 1. The Atlantic world in the early 18th century 22
Map 2. The Guinea Coast 22
Map 3. The Netherlands 23
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