The Holy Piby And Other Important Books In Rastafari Theology
The Holy Piby is probably the most important book in Rastafarian Theology. Other books that are important for Rasta Theology are the “King James’s Bible” ; “The Royal Parchment Scroll Of Black Supremacy”, “The Promised Key” and the “Kebra Negast”. Below are brief descriptions of all these books.
The Holy Piby
The Holy Piby, published in 1924 (Newark, New Jersey), is an occult bible which was allegedly translated from “Amharic”. The Piby emphasizes the destruction of white “Babylon” and the return of the Black Israelites to Africa which is the true Zion. It is also known as the “Black Man’s Bible”. It was quickly adopted by Rastafarians as one of their foundation books for Theological references in the sect.
One Chapter of the book also pays tribute to Marcus Garvey who was one of the most prominent black men fighting for civil rights during the time of publication.
The “Holy Piby” was complied 1913-1917 by its author Robert Athlyi Rogers (Shepherd Robert Athlyi Rogers), who was born in Anguilla. He committed suicide on 24th August 1931. Many Rastafarians say he “took himself away from this life” versus saying he committed suicide when referring to his death.
Below is an excerpt from the Holy Piby Chapter 2.
“Holy Piby Chapter 2 page 23 First Paragraph -“And it came to pass that God gave his name Elijah, and he called upon the name of the Lord God even though he himself was God. Now when the time had appeared for God to return, the supreme angel commanded the chariot of heaven to meet him. And when the chariot appeared unto Elijah, he ascended and returned to his throne in heaven where he reigned from the beginning and shall unto the end, King of kings and God of gods.”
King James Bible
The King James Version of the Bible is the most popular Holy Bible and is the one used by Rastafarians. It was published in 1611 and has been the Standard English version for nearly 400 years. They believe that all other versions are corrupt and this version is the closest to the original manuscripts. Like Christians, the Rastafarians believe that the 66 books of the bible tell the account of God’s actions, purpose for creation and man’s redemption. However their interpretation of many of the books, passages and prophecies in the Bible are very different. Many passages are attributed a reference to the Emperor Haile Selassie. Rastafarians are avid daily Bible readers.
The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy
“The Royal Parchment Scroll Of Black Supremacy” by Rev. Fitz Balintine Pettersburgh was first published in Kingston, Jamaica in 1926. The book professes Black Supremacy and self-determination under “Afro Centric Ethiopian constructs”. Many claim that Leonard Percival Howell’s “Promised Key” is a plagerized version of this book, that was modified to fit Rastafari.
The Promised Key
“The Promised Key” (published under the Hindu name Gangunguru Maragh which means “teacher of famed wisdom”) by Leonard Percival Howell. It contains the foundations for Rastafari and used many of the same concepts found in The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy (some have accused him of plagiarizing from this book due to the many similarities) and the Holy Piby.
The “Kebra Negast” which literally translates to “Glory Of The Kings” in Amharic, (the Ethiopian national language), is the National Epic of the Ethiopia State. Rastafarians see it as Prophecy. This is one of the main contentions between Rastafarians and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, as they see it as a historical epic of Ethiopian Royalty.