Black August: Ronald Charles on Decolonizing the Bible

Black August Series

August 10, 2023, 7:30pm Eastern Time

Decolonizing the Bible: How Haiti’s language, culture and revolutionary legacy can inform a decolonial biblical understanding

Drawing from his articles, “Moving In Between Places and Academic Disciplines” (BSM) and “Reading Romans in Greek: Translating and Commenting on it in Haitian Creole” (BTCR), Dr. Ronald Charles will share about his quest to forge biblical scholarship that speaks generatively into the lives of struggling communities in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. In specific, he will discuss the ways that translation, both between languages and contexts, can either be mobilized toward silencing and conformity, or toward decolonization and solidarity.

Dr. Charles will be joined by respondent Sherly Fabre, a Haitian-American peace and justice activist. The session will be hosted and facilitated by CLBSJ Board Member Hugh Page.

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. Ronald Charles is an Associate Professor in the Univeristy of Toronto’s Department for the Study of Religion. Previously he has taught at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, University of Miami in Florida, Queen’s University in Ontario, and University of Toronto, Mississauga. Dr. Charles was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where he worked as a translator and taught French and Haitian Literature in two high schools. He obtained his PhD from the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. His academic interests are in early Christian literature, Second Temple Judaism, ancient slavery, and in Black diasporic religions. Click here for full bio.

Sherly Fabre is a Haitian-American immigrant and peace activist. She is a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation National Committee and UN Representative for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. She is also a member of the Community of Living Traditions. She has been on CLBSJ’s Black August Series Planning Team since 2021 and has also volunteered with CLBSJ’s library team on the Muslim Peace Collection.

Hugh Page is a Professor of Theology and Africana Studies and Vice President and Associate Provost at the University of Notre Dame. He serves as a member of the CLBSJ Board and Chair of the Council of the Society of Biblical Literature. Click here for full bio.