Still Letting My People Go

An Analysis of Eli Washington Caruthers's Manuscript against American Slavery and Its Universal Application of Exodus 10:3

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Jack R. Davidson
  • Eugene, OR: 
    Pickwick Publications
    , July
     244 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Eli Washington Caruthers’s unpublished manuscript, American Slavery and the Immediate Duty of Southern Slaveholders, is the arresting and authentic alternative to the nineteenth-century hermeneutics that supported slavery. On the basis of Exodus 10.3—“Let my people go that they may serve me”—Caruthers argued that God was acting in history against all slavery. Unlike arguments guided largely by the New Testament, Caruthers believed that the Exodus text was a privileged passage to which all thinking on slavery must conform. As the most extensive development of the Exodus text within the field of antislavery literature, Caruthers’s manuscript is an invaluable primary source. It is especially relevant to historians’ current appraisal of the biblical sanction for slavery in nineteenth-century America because it does not correspond to characterizations of antislavery literature as biblically weak. To the contrary, an analysis of Caruthers’s manuscript reveals a thoroughly reasoned biblical argument unlike any other produced during the nineteenth century against the hermeneutics supporting slavery.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Jack Davidson is the pastor of Alhambra True Light Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles and has previously served churches in Oregon and North Carolina. He has taught courses in Christianity and American Religion at the university level and written numerous papers. He is the author of "Slavery" (Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Ethics, 2015).


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