Christian Supremacy: Reckoning with the Roots of Antisemitism and Racism

A panoramic cultural and legal history that traces the roots of antisemitism and racism to early Christian theology


Published (US):
May 16, 2023
Published (UK):
Jul 11, 2023
6.13 x 9.25 in.
30 b/w illus.
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Since the earliest days of Christianity, theologians expressed pervasive anxiety about Jews as equal members of society, and, with European expansion in the early modern period, that anxiety extended to people of color. This troubling legacy still haunts us today. Christian Supremacy demonstrates how theological and legal frameworks created by the church centuries ago laid the seeds of antisemitism and anti-Black racism and reveals why Christian identity lies at the heart of the world’s violent white supremacy movements.

In a powerful historical narrative spanning nearly two millennia, Magda Teter describes how Christian theology of late antiquity cast Jews as “children born to slavery,” and how the supposed theological inferiority of Jews became inscribed into law, creating tangible structures that reinforced a sense of Christian domination and superiority. With the dawn of European colonialism, a distinct brand of European Christian supremacy found expression in the legally sanctioned enslavement and exploitation of people of color, later taking the form of white Christian supremacy in the New World.

Drawing on a wealth of primary evidence ranging from the theological and legal to the philosophical and artistic, Christian Supremacy is a profound reckoning with history that traces the roots of the modern rejection of Jewish and Black equality to an enduring Christian heritage of exclusion, intolerance, and persecution.

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