Black August: Rodney Sadler on Slavery, Resistance and Biblical Understanding

Black August Series

August 03, 2023, 7:30pm Eastern Time

Starting At the Roots: Slavery, Resistance and Biblical Understanding

Co-author of The Genesis of Liberation: Biblical Interpretation in the Antebellum Narratives of the Enslaved, Dr. Rodney Sadler will explore with us how enslavement era biblical interpreters helped shape contemporary biblical interpretation. In particular, he will speak to how these “freedom hermeneutics” can inform our efforts to dismantle whiteness and to develop anti-racist understandings of the Bible as a whole, as well as biblical traditions such as the Sabbath.

Dr. Sadler will be joined by respondent Faith Cook, a North Carolina-based anti-racism activist. The session will be hosted and facilitated by Nicholas Johnson, CLBSJ President and Board Chair.

This year’s Black August series is focused on how the experiences of struggle to overcome racism, slavery and mass incarceration have informed Black/Africana biblical interpretation, and how Black scholars are using the understanding embedded in these experiences to reshape the field of biblical scholarship. The series is being curated by Hugh Page (co-editor of Black Scholars Matter) and Angela Parker (co-editor of Bitter the Chastening Rod), along with Nicholas Johnson, Sr. Sharifa Vernice Meytung, Sherly Fabre, Warren Cooper, Carolyn Grice and Amy Dalton. Bios are available at We are grateful for the co-sponsorship of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary and the Community of Living Traditions.

Dr. Rodney S. Sadler Jr. is Associate Professor of Bible and the Director of the Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation at Union Presbyterian Seminary. His teaching experience includes courses in biblical languages, Old and New Testament interpretation, wisdom literature in the Bible, the history and religion of ancient Israel, and African American biblical interpretation. His first authored book, Can A Cushite Change His Skin? An Examination of Race, Ethnicity, and Othering in the Hebrew Bible, was published in 2005. He frequently lectures within the church and community on Race in the Bible, African American Biblical Interpretation, the Image of Jesus, Biblical Archaeology, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. He was the managing editor of the African American Devotional Bible. Click here for full bio.

Faith Cook is a North Carolina-based anti-racism activist and community leader from Alamance County, NC who was recently given the Radical Truth Teller Award by the Truth Telling Project.

Nicholas Johnson is the pastor at Raritan Valley Baptist Church and a PhD candidate in New Testament and Early Christianity at Drew University. Click here for full bio.