“Studying the moon more than he did the Bible and the fantastical shapes in the clouds more than the principles and sentiments of justice and humanity, the poor monomanic Turner set on foot the bloody and savage massacre....” Richmond Daily Dispatch (1867)
In most depictions of Nat Turner, there is some mention of his command of the Bible and biblical teachings. And in most accounts, Turner shares this knowledge with his fellow slaves in Southampton during his adult life as he preaches informally and even baptizes himself and a fellow sinner. Some accounts dismiss his erudition and influence as misguided fanaticism with maniacal motives. In these accounts, Turner’s religiosity is a mere façade used to manipulate and control his followers.