Brown Bag Slavery, Sacred Texts and the Antebellum Confrontation with History 9 July 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Jordan Watkins, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

This study explores biblical and constitutional debates over slavery in the antebellum era. It argues that the developing slavery crisis fueled the move to understand both the Bible and the Constitution as historical texts. It also contends that the emphasis on contextual interpretation among biblical scholars in the first few decades of the nineteenth century informed a similar reading of the Constitution in the decades before the Civil War. It demonstrates that these overlapping developments cultivated an awareness of the historical distances that divided Americans from their favored biblical and Revolutionary pasts.