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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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 The Birth of Christ

 The Birth of Christ

A Theological Reading of Briton Hammon's 1760 Narrative

Chapter:
(p.255) 6 The Birth of Christ
Source:
Race
Author(s):

J. Kameron Carter (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195152791.003.0012

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

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