When the Sun Stood Still: Reflections on the Reverend John Jasper in His Bicentennial Year
On February 23, 2012, Samuel K. Roberts delivered a lecture entitled "When the Sun Stood Still: Reflections on the Reverend John Jasper in His Bicentennial Year."
Among the larger than life personages in Richmond during the latter years of the nineteenth century is to be counted the pastor of Jackson Ward's Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, the Rev. John Jasper. He was born a slave in the second decade of the century, and his mark on Richmond's popular consciousness lasts even to the present. In large measure, this is because of a sermon he first preached in 1878, "The Sun Do Move and the Earth Am Square." Hailed by some and vilified by others, Jasper's sermon seemed to defy modern notions of astronomy. Yet, he was asked to preach it more than 250 times, including before the General Assembly, before his death in 1901. Reflections on this enigmatic character will explore the context in which his audiences heard him, as well as that of our own.
Samuel K. Roberts is the Anne Borden and E. Hervey Evans Professor of Theology and Ethics at Union Presbyterian Seminary.
This lecture was cosponsored with Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church.
The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.
Want to listen to an audio-only version of this lecture? Listen now on Soundcloud.