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Rastafari Texts

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While Rastafari is heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian beliefs, it developed largely as a racial movement among the blacks of Jamaica which looked to Africa and Ethiopia as the Promised Land. As such, the texts commonly embraced by Rastas look to Ethiopian culture and other Afrocentric works.

The Kebra Nagast

Kebra Nagast

The Kebra Nagast is an Ethiopian document recording the conversion of Ethiopian leaders to worshiping the Lord God of Israel as well as tracing the lineage of 20th century Ethiopian emperors (including Haile Selassie, whom the Rastas view as the Messiah) back to the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon.

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The Holy Piby

Holy Piby

Author: Robert Athlyi Rogers

The Holy Piby was written in the 1920s and argues, among other things, that Africans are among God's chosen people. It is widely embraced by Rastas and generally considered a founding document of the faith.

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The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy

Author: Fitz Balintine Pettersburg

The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy espouses a strongly Afrocentric view and supports struggle against the oppressive white culture of 1920s Jamaica. It is widely considered a founding document of the Rastafari movement.

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The Promised Key

Promised Key

Author: Leonard Percival Howell (as G. G. Maragh)

The Promised Key was written in the 1930s while the author was in prison for sedition against the white authority in Jamaica. The document is clearly an edited version of the Royal Parchment Scroll, although it also expresses some additional claims, such as explicitly naming Emperor Haile Selassie as the promised Messiah.

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More Books on Rastafari Culture

A variety of books are available on the history, development and culture of the Rastafari Movement.
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  5. Rastafari Books - Rasta Books - Rastafarian Texts

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