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RaceA Theological Account$
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J. Kameron Carter

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195152791

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195152791.001.0001

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Prelude on Christology and Race

Prelude on Christology and Race

Irenaeus as Anti‐Gnostic Intellectual

Chapter:
(p.11) Prelude on Christology and Race
Source:
Race
Author(s):

J. Kameron Carter (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195152791.003.0002

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

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