David Brion Davis

NEW YORK (AP) — David Brion Davis, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who documented the centrality of slavery in Western culture through a landmark trilogy that made him among the world’s most respected and influential scholars, has died.

Davis, a professor emeritus at Yale University, died Sunday at age 92. Yale announced that he died of natural causes.

Starting in 1967 with “The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture,” Davis traced the evolution of how the West regarded human bondage from ancient times to the present. Davis drew upon the Bible, Greek philosophy and political and economic debates to show how the West defended, rationalized and fought for slavery before beginning to turn against it in the 18th and 19th centuries. He explored debates over whether the Bible justified or condemned slavery, how revolutionary leaders in the United States and France supported slavery even while fighting for their own freedom and how even some abolitionists advocated sending freed slaves to a foreign country.