Cover image for The agony of Asar : a thesis on slavery by the former slave, Jacobus Elisa Johannnes Capitein, 1717-1747
The agony of Asar : a thesis on slavery by the former slave, Jacobus Elisa Johannnes Capitein, 1717-1747
Capitein, J. E. J. (Jacobus Elisa Joannes), 1717-1747.
Uniform Title:
Dissertation politico-theologica de serviture liberati Christiani non contraria. English
Publication Information:
Princeton [N.J.] : Markus Wiener, [2001]

Physical Description:
x, 182 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm
General Note:
Originally presented as the author's thesis (doctoral)--Leyden University, 1742.


Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
HT913 .C36 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This dissertation is written by an African slave. He was brought to Holland by his owner, and educated at the University of Leiden with grants from wealthy burghers. Thereafter he returned to Guinea as a missionary. His analysis presents an intellectual genealogy of Western thought on slavery.

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Publisher's Weekly Review

Written by the first former slave to receive a college degree in Holland, The Agony of Asar: A Thesis on Slavery by the Former Slave, Jacobus Eliza Johannes Capitein, 1717-1747, is a landmark work in the history of African slavery, newly translated into English. Contrary to most intellectuals of his day, Capitein believed that slavery and Christianity were compatible, because he viewed freedom as a spiritual matter and not a physical one. Duke University history professor Grant Parker ably guides the modern reader through Capitein's arguments and insights. ( Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Forewordp. vii
The Agony of Asar: an introduction to the life and work of Capiteinp. 1
I. A life: servitude and aftermathp. 7
1. An orphan in the Netherlandsp. 7
2. Unhappy returns: Elmina, 1742-1747p. 11
3. Potentially parallel lives: Equiano and Capiteinp. 17
II. The West Indies Company and the Dutch slave tradep. 19
1. The birth and slow demise of a seaborne empirep. 19
2. White man's burden: Christian missionp. 33
III. Capitein's writings in overviewp. 38
1. Missiologyp. 38
2. A scholar and an Africanp. 43
IV. Capitein's dissertation in contextp. 56
1. A history of Ham's curse: Christianity and slaveryp. 56
2. Antislavery sentiment in the Netherlandsp. 66
V. Conclusionsp. 73
Defining slavery: ownership and social deathp. 73
Jacobus Elisa Johannes Capitein: Political-theological dissertation examining the question: Is slavery compatible with Christian freedom or not?p. 79
Preface: To the readerp. 81
Chapter 1 Which defines slavery and proposes the subject of inquiryp. 95
Chapter 2 Which explores the ancient origin of slavery and shows that nearly all societies made use of itp. 97
Chapter 3 Which proves that slavery and Christianity are not antitheticalp. 103
Appendix 1. Two prefaces to Capitein's translation of religious textsp. 133
[The translator] to the Christian readerp. 133
The publisher to the readerp. 134
Appendix 2. African intellectuals in 18th-century Europep. 136
Appendix 3. Capitein and his world: a select bibliographyp. 153
Abbreviations used in the endnotesp. 157
Notes to the introductionp. 158
Notes to Capitein's dissertationp. 171
Indexp. 181
Map 1. The Atlantic world in the early 18th centuryp. 22
Map 2. The Guinea Coastp. 22
Map 3. The Netherlandsp. 23