Prelude on Christology and Race

J. Kameron Carter

in Race

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780195152791
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199870578 | DOI:
Prelude on Christology and Race

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This chapter engages Irenaeus of Lyons's 2nd‐century critique of ancient Gnosticism in order to shed light on the inner workings of modernity's racial imagination, which is Gnostic in character. According to Irenaeus, central to ancient Gnosticism was its intellectual effort to oust all things Jewish from the Christian imagination. Ancient Gnosis, Irenaeus argued, was driven by an anti‐Jewish supersessionism that had come to infect Christian identity. The chapter's central contention is that the effort to supersede Judaism is what binds the vision of race at work in the forms and systems of thought marking modernity and the anthropology or vision of the human at work in those marking the ancient Gnostic movements.The chapter makes the claim that Irenaeus's Christological response to the ancient Gnostic problem is a critical resource for this book's contemporary theological response to the neo‐Gnosticism of race generally and whiteness in particular.

Keywords: Irenaeus of Lyons; Gnosticism; Judaism; supersessionism; anti‐Jewish; racial imagination; race; anthropology; identity; Christian identity

Chapter.  12591 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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