Race Fact #3

Race was not a social category in the ancient world of the Bible.

“The ancient world did not make skin color the focus of irrational sentiments or the basis for uncritical evaluation. …(T)he ancient world did not fall into the error of biological racism; black skin color was not a sign of inferiority; Greeks and Romans did not establish skin color as an obstacle to integration in society; and ancient society was one that ‘for all its faults and failures never made color the basis for judging a man.'”

“In spite of the association of blackness with ill omens, demons, the devil and sin, there is in the extant records no stereotyped image of Ethiopians as the personification of demons or the devil, no fixed concept of blacks as evil or unworthy of conversion. … The early Christians did not alter the classical color symbolism or the teachings of the church to fit a preconceived notion of blacks as inferior, to rationalize the enslavement of blacks or to sanction segregated worship.  In sum, in the early church blacks found equality in both theory and practice.”

~ Frank M. Snowden, Jr., Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1983), 63 & 107-108.

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