The Birth of Christ

J. Kameron Carter

in Race

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780195152791
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199870578 | DOI:
  The Birth of Christ

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Read individually and together or intertextually, a number of black antebellum texts employ Christian theological ideas to envision black existence as free. Indeed, they employ theological ideas in such a way as, first, to correct the distorted Christology that grounds modernity's racial imagination, second, to rectify the Christian supersessionism that is the deeper dimension of the modern Christological problematic. This chapter examines one such text, the 1760 Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings, and the Surprizing Deliverance of Briton Hammon, a Negro Man, arguing that, theologically understood, Hammon's Narrative works to destabilize modern racial identity by envisioning those racialized as black in the modern world, and thus as the negative anchor of whiteness, as in fact born into Christ's flesh. His birth or nativity is their birth, and thus his nonracial or Jewish covenantal flesh is the horizon of meaning that reconstitutes identity generally and that liberates racialized existence specifically.

Keywords: Briton Hammon; Christology; birth of Christ; whiteness; supersessionism; identity; racial imagination; modernity

Chapter.  14490 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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