Also that year, Paul Finkelman reviewed the book for the Journal of Law and Religion. Commenting on the claims by The Secret Relationship about Jewish participation in the slave trade, which he calls ludicrous, he notes that Faber indeed succeeds in \"setting the record straight\", as indicated by the book's very subtitle, although he notes that the book may not reach the audiences which need to hear its message the most. He notes that Faber demonstrates that Jewish merchants in the New World were less likely to be involved in slave trade than their Christian counterparts, and that overall, Jews were \"virtually irrelevant to the history of slavery and the slave trade in the New World\". He does, however, criticize the book for not covering in depth the case of Suriname, which he argues is a likely exception to the pattern of Jews not being involved in agriculture and therefore not owning many slaves. Like previous reviewers, he also notes that the book focuses too much on the presentation of statistics, and does too little to analyze them, in particular, not addressing the issue of whether there is a connection between Jewish culture and their relatively small involvement in the various aspects of slavery.
Other studies, by Harold Brackman and Saul Friedman, reached similar conclusions. In a 1994 article in the New York Review of Books, David Brion Davis, an emeritus professor of history at Yale University and author of an award-winning trilogy of books about slavery, noted that Jews were one of countless religious and ethnic groups around the world to participate in the slave trade:
The contributions of northern, eastern, and southern Africa to the American mtDNA gene pool appear to be very small, which, again, is in good agreement with the historical picture. Eastern Africa is, by contrast, an important donor of mtDNAs to the Near East. This may be the result, at least in part, of more ancient movements of slaves, such as the Arab trade through Red Sea and Indian Ocean ports (Richards et al. 2003). However, there are also discernible western and southeastern African components to the (relatively few) mtDNAs of recent African ancestry within Europe, which are likely to be mainly attributable to the more recent Atlantic trade. Portuguese western, southwestern, and southeastern Africa were the main sources for the Atlantic slave trade to Europe (Thomas 1998, p. 805). A striking finding of this study is the high number of three-way sequence matches between African, American, and European mtDNAs. Almost all of these are of likely western African (such as those in L1b) or southeastern African (such as those in L0a) origin. These matches are particularly prevalent in Portugal, which was indeed the principal destination for slaves within Europe. Nevertheless, the composition of Iberian mtDNAs of recent African ancestry suggests that other processes, such as the medieval Arab/Berber conquest, must also have been influential.
Another topic covered by the book is Jewish interactions with blacks in both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Schorsch finds that Jewish slave owning and slave trading \"remained minimal\" in both places (pp. 50, 53). When Jews did own slaves, it was often to serve as a marker of status (p. 68). Chapter 3, one of the book's most engrossing, aims to reconstruct daily life for blacks in Mediterranean and European Jewish society using rabbinical responsa (answers to queries from believers about how Jewish law applied to daily situations). Schorsch notes, for instance, that slaves and ex-slaves who wished to practice Judaism were often well integrated into the community, at least in the early part of the period. Chapter 9 seeks to reconstruct master-slave interactions among Jews in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dutch and British Atlantic. The author cautions, however, that this task is difficult since relatively few responsa were produced in the Americas.
Chapter 7, \"Inventing Jewish Whiteness: The Seventeenth-Century Western Sephardic Diaspora, Part 1,\" and chapter 8, \"Inventing Jewish Whiteness: The Seventeenth-Century Western Sephardic Diaspora, Part 2,\" are particularly illuminating. Schorsch argues that the concept of whiteness allowed Jews to \"include themselves in the dominant culture ... in a way they could not as non-Christians\" (p. 167). He points out that early modern codes of racial exclusion were unstable, and that Jews were sometimes described as \"black and ugly\" (pp. 169, 179). He further suggests that it was \"equations of Jews and Blackness that inspired some Jews to argue their own Whiteness\" (p. 186). Growing anxiety about whiteness led to increased distancing from non-white servants and slaves, particularly among Amsterdam's Jews. Where once young men of mixed race had been able to study in yeshiva, and \"circumcised Negro Jews\" could be called to the Torah, these practices ended after the mid-seventeenth century, as did race-blind burials (pp. 195-197). Schorsch observes, however, that these exclusions were not uniquely Jewish, but emulations of Christian racial practices.
This kind of approach, drawn from Jewish historiography's focus on acculturation and identity, is at odds with the way Atlantic historians treat master-slave relations. They frequently study violence, resistance, and the agency of slaves; they read slaves' non-participation in their masters' religion as an attempt to hold onto the culture of their ancestors. Schorsch, in contrast, is more concerned with the tolerance/intolerance of masters. Furthermore, while he criticizes other Jewish studies scholars for focusing on instances of affection between masters and slaves, he sometimes does the same himself. He stresses intimacy between master and slave without much discussion of violence: \"Slaves necessarily got caught up in their owners' family affairs, daily happenings, arguments, romances\" (p. 263); \"masters became caught up in the lives, culture, and characters of their underlings\" (p. 264). This analysis may reflect the biases of his sources, but \"reading against the grain\" might have helped him to paint a more complex picture of master-slave interactions among Jews.
English Translation Because with great care we have procured the conversion of the Indians to our Holy Catholic Faith, and furthermore, if there are still people there who are doubtful of the faith in their own conversions, it would be a hindrance [to them], and therefore we will not permit, nor allow to go there [to the Americas] Moors nor Jews nor heretics nor reconciled heretics, nor persons who are recently converted to our faith, except if they are black slaves, or other slaves, that have been born under the dominion of our natural Christian subjects.
In comparison with Penn, George Fox has appeared much more enlightened.3 After all, his Gospel Family-Order, based upon a sermon taken down when he preached at Barbados, advocated freeing slaves after a period of years, using an analogy to a similar practice of the jubilee year discussed in the books of Exodus and Jeremiah. Fox also advocated the humane treatment of slaves, proclaimed that Christ died for all people--whites, blacks, and Indians--and insisted upon the necessity of treating the marriages of blacks like those of whites. Fox's To the Ministers, Teachers, and Priests . . . in Barbados influenced the Anglican clergyman Morgan Godwyn to take an interest in converting blacks.4 Fox's attitudes appear very progressive as compared to virtually all other Quaker and non-Quaker visitors to the West Indies.
Of Fox's companions in 1671, William Edmundson, John Burnyeat, and Elizabeth Hooten left information on their reaction to Barbados. Burnyeat, who joined Fox on the mainland and had visited the island for seven weeks in 1664, during the summer in 1667, and for six months in 1670, wrote epistles to the white Quaker inhabitants which never mentioned the slave population.17 The closest Burnyeat came to anti-slavery was in an epistle written in 1670 condemning holding a fast day to end an epidemic: 'And such who instead of setting the oppressed free, of undoing the heavy Burthens, and make Yokes instead of breaking them, such are not the People the Lord will accept in their Fasts.'18 Edmundson said only that in Barbados 'we had many large precious Meetings . . . and many were brought into the way of Life & Peace with God'.19 Elizabeth Hooten, in an epistle to the 'Rulers and Magestrats', demanded 'Justice and Judgment, for if one goe vp into the Countrey, there is A great Cry of the Poore being Robbed by Rich mens Negroes, Soe that they cannot with out great Troble, keep any thing from being Stolen'. Her solution was for each man to make sure his 'family have Suffitient food and any thing else the stand in need of'.20 Here meeting the needs of slaves served only to help the small white planters. Hooten was more indignant about Anglican persecution of Friends on the island than over the treatment of Negroes. Lydia Fell's tract to the inhabitants of Barbados, published in 1676, denounced persecution of Quakers and exhorted Friends to hold to the purity of the light. She did not discuss the slave population.21
Edmundson, in epistles addressed to slaveholders, like Fox cited the Old Testament patriarchs, sought to evangelise the slaves, and stressed the jubilee year practice. Going beyond Fox, he used the non-observance of jubilee to condemn the institution of slavery. He saw sin as integral to a 'perpetual Slavery' which was an 'Agrivasion and Oppression upon the Mind'. Slavery for black and for Indian was 'unlawful'. Masters who kept their negroes in conditions of intellectual ignorance and physical deprivation should instead empathetically make the slaves' condition their own.24 Edmundson realised that slavery retarded evangelisation of blacks even when Quaker masters brought them to meetings. A true Christianity would bring both spiritual and physical freedom. 59ce067264