Article Title – Slavery and Inhumanity: Keith Bradley’s Legacy on Slavery in New Testament Studies
Harrill, J. Albert. “Slavery and Inhumanity: Keith Bradley’s Legacy on Slavery in New Testament Studies.” Biblical Interpretation, vol. 21, no. 4/5, Oct. 2013, pp. 506-514. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1163/15685152-2145P0005.
Saying that ‘Slavery has always been brutal and always will be’ is a statement that could not be proven truer in the scope of Professor Keith Bradley’s analysis of slavery throughout the ages in the article, Slavery and Inhumanity . Regarding slavery in Rome, a common perception is that slavery was ‘better’ there than it had been in any other parts of the world that practiced slavery. This is known as the Mainz Academy analysis. Though really, when someone is a slave, how could that kind of reality ever be something that is ‘good’? Bradley bases his research against refuting this widespread claim. In actuality, slavery in Rome was no better than o any tother part of the world and it laid the groundwork of slavery in come. Contrary to popular belief, slaves in Rome were not treated ‘nicely’ but beaten and described as being property, just like any other place that practiced slavery. In other words, the audience of this article, is anyone who dared to claim that slavery in Rome was better than any other part of the world. Just like any other group who took part in that sort of systematic slavery, demoting humans to the level of mere animals, Rome was terribly inhumane and increadibly cruel.
When making my search, I chose the words, ‘Sicily, Slave, Rome and Haiti‘. In the backdrop of the article, these words all interlock perfectly. According to the article, ” The world history of slavery reveals slave revolts to be extremely rare occurrences; only four outright slave wars are known: one in modern Haiti, two in ancient Sicily, and one led by Sparatcus in ancient Italy “. Notice that both Sicily and Haiti are both named as sites for slave revolts. The comparison between the two gives of cleare picture of the state of slavery in Rome. Anyone versed in history to some competent degreee knows of the slave revolts in Haiti, led by Toussaint L’Overture, and in turn the horror of slavery in Haiti, which led to said revolt. Such a comparison being made between Haiti and Sicily demonstrates that slavery was indeed a much hated thing in Rome – a cruel and disgusting thing – forcing slaves there to revolt in one the few slave revolts ever recored in history.
In the beginning of Diodorus, The Library, fragments from books 34/35, it is said ” But their masters (the slaves), were very strict and severe with them, and took no care to provide either necessary food or clothing for them, so that most of. Them were forced to rob and steal , to get these necessities; so that all places were full of slaughters and murders…” This quote refers to one of the roles of slaves in Sicily of Rome. Slaves were made to act as shepherds for large herds of cattle and practice ‘Latfundia’, in other words, Plantation Farming. This was a part of a contract of sorts that was established, in which the slaves would gain their freedom after a certain amount of time from their masters. However, the reality being that slave masters often lived far away from the sites of herding and farming, in combination with the growing realization on the part of slaves, that they would never gain their freedom because of this reason, led the slaves to start to revolt. This connects directly to the examples of slave reovlts given in Bradley’s assertions. It only strengthens his claim, that Rome was no different from other slave capitals – slavery has always been brutal, and always will be.
Skaie Cooper, Team Ares