The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race
Much like Carter in his Race: A Theological Account, Jennings believes that the way toward racism directed against black people was paved by the church's supersessionist anti-semitism. The thesis is convincing in both accounts. For Jennings it is a fundamental flaw dating ba ...more
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 disagree, although I do not have the depth of theology of make that type of statement.
I do not usually quote the description of books when I am writing, but I am going to here because I cannot think of a better way to describe the book.
Why has Christianity, a religion premised upon neighborly love, fa...more
Jennings argues the Christian imagination is deficient and he traces the roots of this to the dawn of modernity. If you have studied theology in any formal matter, you ought to be able to see the problem Jennings identifies: we move from the New Testament and early church to a bit of medieval and the scholastics then to ...more
Published in 2010, this is one of those books that is held up as a classic of contemporary theological studies. It's a deep, detailed dive into the ways the Christian imagining of creation has contorted itself in justifying colonialism, slavery, oppression. It's very much an academic book (60 pages of footnotes!), but it's truly essential reading for understanding the conversation in studies o ...more
BUT if the stars align and you’re on board, there is perhaps no book I could recommend more highly. Jennings takes you to four critical moments in ...more
In this book, Jennings takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride through the history of colonial expansion and its effects on the colonized peoples of Africa and the Americas. Each chapter is spattered with primary source excerpts from the even ...more
Somewhere in the last 75 to 80 pages of the book, Dr. Jennings left me. I back tracked. I moved carefully forward. No joy. Once or twice I picked up his trail onl ...more
I suggest that if you read this book:
DO read the introduction. The rest of the book is pretty much a historical and theological background to make sense of the stories he mentions in the intro.
DON’T stop going when the reading is difficult intellectually and emotionally. It’s not an easy read.
DO understand that the point of this book is not so much to provide a step-by-step framework for solving racism as it is a ...more
My 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 just a social reactionary distaste for the holiday, but I will have some objective theological, Christ-honoring grounds for using the holiday as a day to mourn and to imagine hopefully. Thank you, Dr. Jennings, for this book. I only wish I had read it sooner.
If only all his prose was as clear as this:
"I anticipate some resistance to the fundamental claim of this work, that Christian social imagination is diseased and disfigured. In making such a claim I am not saying that the church is lost, moribund, or impotent. Rather, I want my readers to captu ...more
I love that Jennings offers no easy answers. Instead he prioritizes painting a clear picture of the problem and, I think, challenges us to rethink the anato ...more
Also, even though Jennings speaks as a faithful theologian, for scholars not of a religious orientation, I think this book would be exceedingly helpful in thinking through theological/religious dimensions of the origins and genealogies of race--to add another dimension to studies that involve sociological/anthropological/economic factors. It is rich fare, extremely well-researched, and brings a crucial dimension--the theological (in his view heretical) erasure of land-based identit ...more
The argument seems to go something like this:
That theology, around the time of the discovery of the new world, in its conceptual ...more