"To Wash A Blackamoor White": The Rise of Black Ethnic Religious Rhetoric in Early Modern England
Lewis, Tamara Elisabeth
This dissertation argues that in late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England there was a rise of black ethnic rhetoric in religious preaching and texts. Appropriated from the language and culture of the Renaissance, itself a rebirth of classical antiquity, early modern black ethnic religious tropology was used symbolically to reflect the universal condition of human sin, the Protestant drama of salvation, and the possibilities of sanctification. Black imagery was not only coterminous with established negative perceptions of Africans during the early modern period, but also engendered a contemporary theological and intellectual climate amenable to burgeoning hostility, despite evidence of English ministerial service to Africans.