A look at a historical text through religious lens

“The Emancipation Proclamation as Sacred Text,” a lecture by Joseph Tucker Edmunds, will be presented on Marshall’s campus Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Edmunds is an assistant professor of religious studies and Africana studies at Indiana University’s School of Liberal Arts and a research fellow for the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture.

He has been invited to campus in honor of Black History Month to discuss his research on religious communities.

“Usually when you dig deep into religious communities, you find that there is a great degree of extra biblical text,” Edmunds said. “Things that are not usually considered a part of the cannon, usually not considered part of mainstream discourse. What are those other texts that African American Christians use?”

He proposes and will discuss in detail during his lecture that the Emancipation Proclamation is one of those extra biblical texts. This is because of its political significance which leads to it being read as sacred text. Edmunds said African American Christians see the Emancipation Proclamation as recognition for God’s desire to free African Americans from slavery.

Edmunds will be talking about understanding religion through a historical and political understanding, specifically African American Christianity.

“If you are a person who has questions about Christianity and African American Christianity, I’m coming in and I’m going to hopefully challenge what you thought about those categories and how they work and what counts as sacred in those spaces,” Edmunds said.

The “The Emancipation Proclamation as Sacred Text” will be held at 4 p.m. in the Drinko Library third floor atrium.