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Jesus’ Empire or the Empire’s Jesus?

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

AbstractIn response to Burton Mack’s argument in “A Secular Bible?” that a Christian myth or “Christian mentality” drives American empire, this essay suggests that Christian myths should be seen as products of empire. As we can see by looking at 19th and 20th century racist and anti-racist versions of Jesus, base determines superstructure at least some of the time.

Affiliations: 1: St. Thomas Aquinas College125 Route 340 Sparkill NY


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1. Baker Kelly J. Gospel according to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930 2011 Lawrence, Kansas University Press of Kansas
2. Botham Fay Almighty God Created the Races: Christianity, Interracial Marriage, & American Law 2009 Chapel Hill University of North Carolina Press
3. Fox Richard W. Jesus in America: Personal Savior, Cultural Hero, National Obsession 2005 San Francisco HarperCollins
4. Hammer Olav Alternative Christs 2009 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
5. Mack Burton Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth 1995 San Francisco HarperCollins
6. Pelikan Jaroslav Jesus through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture 1985 New Haven Yale University Press
7. Prothero Stephen American Jesus: How the Son of God became a National Icon 2003 New York Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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