The Hebrew Principles and Customs of Olaudah Equiano’s People (1789)

Source: Olaudah Equiano The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (Hanover Historical Texts Project) 1789 A.D.

From the source, “Such is the imperfect sketch my [Page 38] memory has furnished me with of the manners and customs of a people among whom I first drew my breath. And here I cannot forbear suggesting what has long struck me very forcibly, namely, the strong analogy which even by this sketch, imperfect as it is, appears to prevail in the manners and customs of my countrymen and those of the Jews, before they reached the Land of Promise, and particularly the patriarchs while they were yet in that pastoral state which is described in Genesisan analogy, which alone would induce me to think that the one people had sprung from the other. Indeed this is the opinion of Dr. Gill, who, in his commentary on Genesis, very ably deduces the pedigree of the Africans from Afer and Afra, the descendants of Abraham by Keturah his wife and concubine (for both these titles are [Page 39] applied to her). It is also conformable to the sentiments of Dr. John Clarke, formerly Dean of Sarum, in his Truth of the Christian Religion: both these authors concur in ascribing to us this original. The reasonings of these gentlemen are still further confirmed by the Scripture chronology; and if any further corroboration were required this resemblance in so many respects is a strong evidence in support of the opinion. Like the Israelites in their primitive state, our government was conducted by our chiefs or judges, our wise men and elders; and the head of a family with us enjoyed a similar authority over his household with that which is ascribed to Abraham and the other patriarchs. The law of retaliation obtained almost universally with us as with them: and even their religion appeared to have shed upon us a ray of [Page 40] its glory, though broken and spent in its passage, or eclipsed by the cloud with which time, tradition, and ignorance might have enveloped it; for we had our circumcision (a rule I believe peculiar to that people): we had also our sacrifices and burnt-offerings, our washings and purifications, on the same occasions as they had.”

This source is yet another confirmation delivered through the testimony of Olaudah Equiano. This source once again confirms the plausibility that Israelites and Shemitic peoples in general have had a consistent impact on Africa and mixed amongst the local inhabitants which explains why Hebrewisms are scattered throughout Africa. This also confirms Africa gaining its name from Afer and Afra who come from Abraham and that some Africans come from them. This source confirms other Judeo-Christian, Old Testament customs amongst “Africans”, as well.

By Truth Ministries

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