Chris­t­ian Suprema­cy: Reck­on­ing with the Roots of Anti­semitism and Racism

  • From the Publisher
August 4, 2022

A panoram­ic cul­tur­al and legal his­to­ry that traces the roots of anti­semitism and racism to ear­ly Chris­t­ian theology

Since the ear­li­est days of Chris­tian­i­ty, the­olo­gians expressed per­va­sive anx­i­ety about Jews as equal mem­bers of soci­ety, and, with Euro­pean expan­sion in the ear­ly mod­ern peri­od, that anx­i­ety extend­ed to peo­ple of col­or. This trou­bling lega­cy still haunts us today. Chris­t­ian Suprema­cy demon­strates how the­o­log­i­cal and legal frame­works cre­at­ed by the church cen­turies ago laid the seeds of anti­semitism and anti-Black racism and reveals why Chris­t­ian iden­ti­ty lies at the heart of the world’s vio­lent white suprema­cy movements.

In a pow­er­ful his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive span­ning near­ly two mil­len­nia, Mag­da Teter describes how Chris­t­ian the­ol­o­gy of late antiq­ui­ty cast Jews as chil­dren born to slav­ery,” and how the sup­posed the­o­log­i­cal infe­ri­or­i­ty of Jews became inscribed into law, cre­at­ing tan­gi­ble struc­tures that rein­forced a sense of Chris­t­ian dom­i­na­tion and supe­ri­or­i­ty. With the dawn of Euro­pean colo­nial­ism, a dis­tinct brand of Euro­pean Chris­t­ian suprema­cy found expres­sion in the legal­ly sanc­tioned enslave­ment and exploita­tion of peo­ple of col­or, lat­er tak­ing the form of white Chris­t­ian suprema­cy in the New World.

Draw­ing on a wealth of pri­ma­ry evi­dence rang­ing from the the­o­log­i­cal and legal to the philo­soph­i­cal and artis­tic, Chris­t­ian Suprema­cy is a pro­found reck­on­ing with his­to­ry that traces the roots of the mod­ern rejec­tion of Jew­ish and Black equal­i­ty to an endur­ing Chris­t­ian her­itage of exclu­sion, intol­er­ance, and persecution.

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