The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race

The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race

Why has Christianity, a religion premised upon neighborly love, failed in its attempts to heal social divisions?  In this ambitious and wide-ranging work, Willie James Jennings delves deep into the late medieval soil in which the modern Christian imagination grew, to reveal how Christianity’s highly refined process of socialization has inadvertently created and maintained segregated societies.   A probing study of the cultural fragmentation—social, spatial, and racial—that took root in the Western mind, this book shows how Christianity has consistently forged Christian nations rather than encouraging genuine communion between disparate groups and individuals.

Weaving together the stories of Zurara, the royal chronicler of Prince Henry, the Jesuit theologian Jose de Acosta, the famed Anglican Bishop John William Colenso, and the former slave writer Olaudah Equiano, Jennings narrates a tale of loss, forgetfulness, and missed opportunities for the transformation of Christian communities.  Touching on issues of slavery, geography, Native American history, Jewish-Christian relations, literacy, and translation, he brilliantly exposes how the loss of land and the supersessionist ideas behind the Christian missionary movement are both deeply implicated in the invention of race.

Using his bold, creative, and courageous critique to imagine a truly cosmopolitan citizenship that transcends geopolitical, nationalist, ethnic, and racial boundaries, Jennings charts, with great vision, new ways of imagining ourselves, our communities, and the landscapes we inhabit.

Title:The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780300152111
Format Type:

    The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race Reviews

  • E.

    This is the third book in the last year that I have read about the entanglement between Christian theology and racism. Each has provided a slightly different perspective. Each has been well-written, p...

  • James Smith

    A book this is both a conceptual symphony and prophetic challenge. ...

  • D.L. Mayfield

    One of the hardest, most challenging, and yet formative books I have read in a long time. Jennings gets right to the roots of the diseased Christian imagination in the West. Absolutely required readin...

  • Adam Shields

    In the past 8 years since The Christian Imagination was released, I have seen a diverse group of Christians say that this is the most influential theology book of the last decade. I am not going to di...

  • Brenton

    This is amazing content! It is very heady, and it takes a lot of effort to study and understand the concepts suggested. But I think that it is worth the effort, especially in light of the racial confl...

  • Jensen Troup

    A treasure trove of theologically-based examinations of the formation of race originating in the colonialist period. Beginning with a discussion of Christian missions work in South Africa, Latin Ameri...

  • Ron Willoughby

    Reading Dr. Jennings book was like being with this amazing, trailblazing guide who could see things I would have never recognized. There were amazing vistas, confounding paths, and heart-breaking vall...

  • Bob Bixby

    PowerfulMy mind longed for this new imagination and could not begin to think it until I read this book, finishing just in time for “Columbus Day” tomorrow and, consequently, I will have more than ...

  • Kimberly

    Jennings' book is a critically important work that should be read by any who wish to see the unity of the Church and reconciliation among peoples become a reality. Jennings lays a clear and long-stand...

  • Tim

    Jennings' claims in his conclusion are laudatory and necessary, I just find the historical argument he builds so limited as to be unconvincing and his prose heavily theory laden, repetitive, and tedio...