Cushites in the Hebrew Bible

Negotiating Ethnic Identity in the Past and Present


Cushites in the Hebrew Bible offers a reassessment of Cushite ethnographic representations in the biblical literature as a counterpoint to misconceptions about Africa and people of African descent which are largely a feature of the modern age.
Whereas current interpretations have tended to emphasize unfavourable portraits of the people biblical writers called Cushites, Kevin Burrell illuminates the biblical perspective through a comparative assessment of ancient and modern forms of identity construction. Past and present modes of defining difference betray both similarities and differences to ethnic representations in the Hebrew Bible, providing important contexts for understanding the biblical view. This book contributes to a clearer understanding of the theological, historical, and ethnic dynamics underpinning representations of Cushites in the Hebrew Bible.

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Kevin Burrell, PhD (2018), Stellenbosch University, SA, is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Burman University, Canada, and research fellow at Stellenbosch University.
List of Figures and Tables

1 Africa in Western Epistemology
 1.1 Introduction
 1.2 Past & Present: Cush, Nubia, Ethiopia, Africa
 1.3 Problem and Assessment
 1.4 Method
 1.5 Structure

Part 1: Theoretical and Historical Background

2 Theorizing Difference: From Race to Ethnicity
 2.1 Introduction
 2.2 The Monogenism-Polygenism Debate
 2.3 The Demise of Race & the Emergence of Ethnicity
 2.4 Conclusion

3 Cushite Ethnic Identity in the Context of Ancient Egypt
 3.1 Introduction
 3.2 Historical Background
 3.3 Cushite Ethnic Identity in the Egyptian Worldview
 3.4 Conclusion

4 Defining Israelite Ethnic Identity
 4.1 Introduction
 4.2 Defining Israelite Ethnic Identity
 4.3 Conclusion

Part 2: Cushite Ethnic Identity in the Hebrew Bible

5 Cushite Ethnic Identity in the Table of Nations
 5.1 Introduction
 5.2 Cushite Genealogy & Geography in the Table of Nations
 5.3 Theological Evaluation of Nimrod the Cushite
 5.4 Conclusion

6 Cush as Military Topos in Isaiah
 6.1 Introduction
 6.2 Historical and Theological Background
 6.3 Characterizing Cush: a People Mighty and Conquering
 6.4 Conclusion

7 Cush as Military Topos in Chronicles
 7.1 Introduction
 7.2 The Theological Outlook of Chronicles
 7.3 Cush in the Chronicler’s Theology: 2 Chronicles 14:9–15
 7.4 Cush in the Chronicler’s Historiography
 7.5 Conclusion

8 Topos: Cush and the Election of Israel
 8.1 Introduction
 8.2 Israel and the Nations
 8.3 Conclusion

9 Mimesis: Cushites and the Election of Israel
 9.1 Introduction
 9.2 Cushite Presence in Syria-Palestine: the Long View
 9.3 Case Studies
 9.4 Conclusion

10 Conclusion
 10.1 Introduction
 10.2 Contribution
 10.3 Further Studies
 10.4 Conclusion

Appendix A: Ethnicity: Paradigms and Problems
 A.1.1 The Problem of Discipline
 A.1.2 The Problem of Paradigm
 A.1.3 The Problem of Definition
All interested in the place of Africa and Africans in the Bible and the Ancient Near East, and students and specialists researching Cush and Cushites in the Hebrew Bible.