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Horn of Africa Initiative: Wendy Belcher, “The Black Queen of Sheba: The Origin of an African Idea”
WhenThursday, Nov. 7, 2019, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room202
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsDepartment of Near Eastern Languages, Africa Studies Program, Simpson Center for the Humanities

The Kəbrä Nägäśt (The Glory of the Kings), written in Classical Ethiopic, relates how the Queen of Sheba, whose story is first told in the Bible, was actually an Ethiopian queen who had a son with the Israelite King Solomon. In the book, their son takes the Ark of the Covenant from Israel to Ethiopia, thus transferring God’s blessings to a new chosen people. In collaboration with Michael Kleiner, Belcher has produced a new English translation of this remarkable African text and will discuss its origin, reception, and cultural implications.  

WENDY LAURA BELCHER is professor of African literature in Princeton University’s departments of Comparative Literature and African American Studies. She is working to bring attention to early African literature and how African thought has shaped global history. She is the author of Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian Thought in the Making of an English Author (Oxford, 2012), and the translation with Michael Kleiner of The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros: A Seventeenth-Century African Biography of an Ethiopian Woman (Princeton, 2015), perhaps the first African biography of an African woman. Her books in progress are Ladder of Heaven: The Miracles of the Virgin Mary in Ethiopian Literature and Art and The Black Queen of Sheba: A Global History of an African Idea.

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