Mark's Reviews > American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon

American Jesus by Stephen R. Prothero
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's review
Sep 02, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, spirituality
Read from September 02 to October 21, 2011

Jesus was a masterful Jewish rabbi, many will agree. He was the Messiah, many others will assert. But for others in the long and polyglot religious history of America, he has also been an Asian who was the truest expression of Hinduism, a black man who is the liberator of his people from slavery, a meek, gentle, feminized teacher, a strong, muscular, vigorous Savior, a sacrificial lamb, a wise man who performed no miracles, and almost any other manifestation you can think of.

These are just some of the "Jesi" that Stephen Prothero outlines in this book. In the process, he does something just as important -- he gives readers a magisterial trip through the history of religion in the United States, touching on almost every religious movement from the Puritans through the Great Awakening and the champions of liberal Protestantism to Jesus Christ Superstar and the Elder Brother of the Mormons.

Prothero makes a case that Jesus has both transcended and been shaped by human culture, and is the chief vessel though which many Americans have navigated the tension between spiritual purity and cultural relevance.

A very well written, very broad book, "American Jesus" not only entertained me, but taught me about many religious movements and figures I had never heard of, despite thinking of myself as more religiously literate than much of the population.

Very impressive.
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09/02/2011 page 19
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Cathleen (new)

Cathleen Nice review, Mark.


Mark Thanks, Cathleen


Doug Bradshaw Thanks for the heads up on this book. I better read it.


message 4: by Ruthmgon (new) - added it

Ruthmgon Your review makes me want to read this too..


Mark Thanks


message 6: by Libby (new)

Libby (Streed's Reads) Well developed and written review; because of it, I have added this book to my "to-read" shelf and very much looking forward to reading in the near future.


Mark Thanks


message 8: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Jankowski I agree with the others - great review. thanks!


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