Equality of Believers
From the beginning of the nineteenth century through to 1960, Protestantmissionaries were the most important intermediaries between South Africa's ruling whiteminority and its black majority. The Equality of Believers reconfigures thenarrative of race in South Africa by exploring the pivotal role played by these missionaries andtheir teachings in shaping that nation's history.The missionariesarticulated a universalist and egalitarian ideology derived from New Testament teachings thatrebuked the racial hierarchies endemic to South African society. Yet white settlers, the churchesclosely tied to them, and even many missionaries evaded or subverted these ideas. In the early yearsof settlement, the white minority justified its supremacy by equating Christianity with white racialidentity. Later, they adopted segregated churches for blacks and whites, followed by segregationistlaws blocking blacks' access to prosperity and citizenship-and, eventually, by theambitious plan of social engineering that was apartheid.Providing historicalcontext reaching back to 1652, Elphick concentrates on the era of industrialization, segregation,and the beginnings of apartheid in the first half of the twentieth century. The most ambitious workyet from this renowned historian, Elphick's book reveals the deep religious roots of racialideas and initiatives that have so profoundly shaped the history of SouthAfrica.
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