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Table of Contents of The Agony of Asar: A Thesis on Slavery by the Former Slave—Jacobus Elisa Johannes Capitein, 1717–1747



an introduction to the life and work of Capitein

I. A life: servitude and aftermath

1. An orphan in the Netherlands

2. Unhappy returns: Elmina, 1742–1747

3. Potentially parallel lives: Equiano and Capitein

II. The West Indies Company and the Dutch slave trade

1. The birth and slow demise of a seaborne empire

2. White man’s burden: Christian mission

III. Capitein’s writings in overview

1. Missiology

2. A scholar and an African

IV. Capitein’s dissertation in context

1. A history of Ham’s curse: Christianity and slavery

2. Antislavery sentiment in the Netherlands

V. Conclusions

Defining slavery: ownership and social death


Political-theological dissertation examining the question: Is slavery compatible with Christian freedom or not?

Preface: To the reader

Chapter One, which defines slavery and proposes the subject of inquiry

Chapter Two, which explores the ancient origin of slavery and shows that nearly all societies made use of it

Chapter Three, which proves that slavery and Christianity are not antithetical


Appendix 1.

Two prefaces to Capitein’s translation of religious texts

[The translator] to the Christian reader

The publisher to the reader

Appendix 2.

African intellectuals in 18th-century Europe

Appendix 3.

Capitein and his world: a select bibliography


Abbreviations used in the endnotes

Notes to the introduction

Notes to capitein’s dissertation




Map 1. The Atlantic world in the early 18th century

Map 2. The Guinea coast

Map 3. The Netherlands