Black Ham: Ham and Race in the Old Testament

We have covered Cain and “blackness,” probably more than it deserves. In this post, I will run through a quick and dirty discussion of Ham and “blackness.”  This explanation has, hands down, no contest, dominated racial exegesis in European Biblical scholarship until the last 50+ years. While there is more–much more–to the Noachian story, if this blog post can help form even one well-framed discussion point for a Gospel Doctrine teacher, it is worth the time. The Gospel Doctrine Manual does not so much as mention Ham’s existence (like, anywhere). Since Ham is both in Genesis and Abraham (next week’s lesson), it’s best to be prepared.
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Teaching about Cain and Race in LDS Gospel Doctrine

Lesson 5 on Cain and Abel is coming up, and the proverbial elephant in the room endures: what of the Curse of Cain?

Mormons live in a new era when it comes to racial exegesis. Grandfather’s talking points about “the negro,” Cain and Ham aren’t en vogue.  “We now know,” we tell ourselves, with a breath of relief, “that African people aren’t descended from Cain.”  That early Mormon leaders accepted the Cain-African  theory as Gospel Truth (TM) is a matter of a fairly well-established history that needs no belaboring here (for a sound overview of Mormon use of the theory, see here and here).  Continue reading