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Identity, genealogy, legacy
David N. Livingstone

The concluding afterword assesses the contribution of the preceding chapters to current debates about the roles of science and religion in shaping notions of identity, genealogy and legacy in the nineteenth century. Drawing on examples from various parts of the globe, the chapter posits the career of the American scientist, racist and biblical apologist Alexander Winchell as emblematic of some of the new directions and questions raised by this volume. The issues of identity and genealogy which pervade Winchell’s ethno-biblical science, and its enduring legacy, resonate with many of the topics interrogated by the volume. The preceding chapters confirm just how significant the Bible has been in the manufacturing and moulding of various identities. Lines of descent were also critical to the task of securing and stabilising identities. Whether human languages were of monogenetic or polygenetic origin exercised the minds of numerous students of philology. The use of the labels Hamitic, Japhetic and Semitic to designate lines of linguistic ancestry discloses how intimately connected the early science of language was with biblical thought-forms. The chapter concludes by exploring the pervasive legacy of the ideas and movements scrutinised in the volume in the present day.

in Chosen peoples