Christianity and Slavery in the Old Southrnby H. Arthur Scott Traskrn”Slavery is as ancient as war, and war as human nature.”rn—VoltairernA Consuming Fire:rnThe Fall of the Confederacy in thernMind of the White Christian Southrnby Eugene D. GenovesernAthens, GA: University of Georgia Press;rn169 pp., $24.95rnA mencans, with their strong to externalize the evil withinrnthem and to project it onto others, havernbeen waging crusades to extirpate orrncrush one kind of evil or another for almostrn200 years now. The Pelagian beliefrnin man’s natural innocence and capacityrnfor perfection was the root of manyrnheretical movements which swept thernnorthern United States in tlie post-revolutionarv’rnperiod and the foundation of arnhost of religions from Finneyite Christianityrnto Transcendentalism and Mormonism,rnand it is still the core of the institutionalrnized leftism of the Americanrnacademy.rnThe work of Eugene Genovese is arnpowerfid rebuke to the Pelagian worldviewrnof American historians, particularlyrnas manifested in their treatment of thernAmerican South. Genovese is a formerrnMarxist whose political philosophy hasrnbecome more and more conservative in arnBurkean sense, and who recently rc-rnH. Arthur Scott Trask recently receivedrnhis Ph.D. from the University of SouthrnCarolina. He is currently writing a bookrnon Pelagianism, antinomianism, andrnpantheism in Northern culture.rnturned to the Catholic Church of his ancestors.rnHe is a meticulous, thorough, insightfid,rnand fair-minded scholar whosernwork on both the black and white Southrnis among the best in his field; his earlyrnwork on the Southern slave system wasrnbrilliant and continues to set the standardrnfor the subject. Roll, Jordan, Roll: ThernWorld the Slaves Made (1974) remainsrnrequired reading for those wishing tornpenetrate beyond the caricatures of thernslave system presented in such works ofrnfiction as Uncle Tom’s Cabin and AlexrnHaley’s Roofs.rnh: the second half of his career, Genovesernturned his historical attention tornthe thought and ideals of the Southernrnslaveholding class and their political andrntheological allies. His forthcoming volinne.rnThe Mind of the Master Class,rnpromises to be an impressive work ofrnAmerican history, hi the meantime, hernhas produced three slim volumes of recentrnlectures that offer an introduction tornhis investigation of a neglected but importantrnand rich body of thought. Thernfirst volume. The Slaveholders’ Dilemma,rnwas published in 1992; the second. ThernSouthern Tradition, came out in 1994;rnand the present volume, A ConsumingrnFire, in 1999.rnAlmost all American historians presentrnSouthern history as nothing morernthan a dismal story of the long oppressionrnof blacks by whites, interrupted by a briefrnand unsuccessful white rebellion againstrnthe Union, followed by the uplifting stop,’rnof black resistance to their oppressors andrntheir salvation at the hands of the federalrngovernment urrder Kennedy and Johnson.rnWhile Genovese holds no brief forrneither slavery or segregation (he considersrnthem “enormities”), he despises thernlazy leftist historians who treat the historyrnof the South as a simplistic moral dramarnin which good finallv triumphs over evil.rnAs Genovese himself complained in arn1992 speech at the Universit}’ of SouthrnCarolina, Southern youth “are beingrntaught to forget their forebears or to rememberrnthem with shame”; “too often,rn[Southern] history is now taught, when itrnis taught at all, as a prolonged guilt-trip —rna prologue to the history of Nazi Germany.”rnHe denounced this prachce as “arncultural and political atrocity—a successfulrncampaign to strip Southern youth ofrntheir heritage, and, therefore, their identity.”rnGenovese is no blind apologist for thernSouth, nor does he suggest that the histo-rn)ULY 1999/31rnrnrn