Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

James Walker




identity, rastafari, unique, sense, biblical


This thesis is primarily an inquiry in the particular mode of living of the people of the Rastafarian movement in contemporary Jamaica. The importance of this study is the ethical considerations explicated from a unique conception of personal identity. Primarily, the Rastafari people hold a unique interpretation of Biblical scripture that identifies the Rastafari people as the Israelites of Biblical scripture, thus positioning them in a distinct and genuine relationship with Jah their God. Although this project does not outline any direct conclusions, the personal identity theory of John Locke proves pertinent in explaining the identity established among individual Rastafarians. Although the necessary identity between the Rastafari and Jah may not be explained in the Lockean sense of consciousness, the divinity of man as evidenced by Haile Selassie‐I provide the Rastafari with justification for God’s existence within man and on earth. Further, the Rastafari maintain a unique perspective of history and view their existence in Jamaica as a reoccurring and generational struggle towards a repatriation to Ethiopia promised to them in Biblical text. This perspective and the unique relationship between the Rasta and God allow contemporary Rastafarians to relate with each other in a sense of unified identity as well. Thus, central to this project is the very nature of the Rastafarian identity and the relationships necessary that work towards a sense of unified Rasta consciousness. This unique sense of identity has serious implications for the Rastafari in how one ought to live, and thus is the central concern of this paper.