The Color of Christ: The Son of God & the Saga of Race in America


Product Details

$29.95  $27.85
University of North Carolina Press
Publish Date
6.13 X 9.34 X 0.83 inches | 1.12 pounds

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About the Author

Edward J. Blum is author of Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism.
Paul Harvey is author of Freedom's Coming: Religious Cultures and the Shaping of the South from the Civil War through the Civil Rights Era.


This is a key work for students of American Christianity, but also a worthwhile read for undergraduates and general readers interested in the intersection of race, Christianity, and religion. It is an important acquisition for religion collections of all types. Essential. Lower-level undergraduates and above.--Choice

A tremendous resource for teachers seeking to educate students about the myriad movements in the U.S. that have taken Jesus' name and image, as well as general readers seeking a lively introduction to the topic.--Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp, Journal of Southern Religion

A brilliant, original retelling of the story of religion and race in America.--Mormon Studies Review

The writing itself is deft. . . . Without actually taking a clear political stance themselves, Blum and Harvey nonetheless map the habits of white racist sacralities in the face of a Jesus rendered increasingly rainbow. This is a thought-provoking book.--American Historical Review

With considerable skill, Edward Blum and Paul Harvey have closed a gap in the scholarship of race and American religion by crafting a sweeping narrative chronicling the ways that the physical image of Jesus has encoded various iterations of American racial imagination. . . . No scholar interested in the interplay of racial and religious imagination in American can afford to ignore [this book].--The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

A detailed engagement with contentious subject matter. Religion, politics, and race are often taboo conversation topics, especially in mixed company. But this work is neither shy nor pretentious about bringing all three subjects into conversation.--Reggie L. Williams, Journal of Southern Religion

An easy read.--Nova Religio

Sweeping in scope. . . . A fascinating read for anyone interested in the power of sacred art to deform or transform society.--Sacred Art Pilgrim

The authors' breadth of research is impressive, and their incorporation of material culture is a model for future scholarship.--Journal of American History

Readers will definitely benefit from engaging the authors' discoveries and analyses for themselves.--Interpretation

A fascinating story that we cannot afford to ignore.--Books & Culture

The Color of Christ reveals tremendous complexity, multiplicity and ambiguity to the rich intercultural and interracial relationships and conflicts that have continually changed American culture. Blum and Harvey's latest work deserves to be widely read so that we may yet know how our past endures in the present.--America Magazine

Blum and Harvey's book should be in the running for several awards, if nothing else for documenting a central dynamic in American religious experience. [It] serves as a good model for future research into messianism and American culture and politics.--Darren E. Grem, Journal of Southern Religion

An insightful, historical opus delivering a sobering message about how we all might have been harmed, physically, by the generally-accepted image of the Messiah.--Kam Williams

A solid contribution to the conversation on religion and race in U.S. history. . . . The American Christian community remains trapped within a web of racial hierarchies, flawed theological assumptions and dangerous patriarchal precedents that continue to inform Christian doctrine and liturgy. The best way to treat an illness is to begin by discovering its root causes. The Color of Christ does just that.--Christian Century

Brings the story of religion and race in American history to life. . . . The Color of Christ is a valuable contribution to our understanding of race and religion and would be of value to anyone interested in the topic of religion and race.--The Tidings

[The Color of Christ is] an eye-opening look at how not just the image but also the idea of Christ has shifted within varying communities and schools of thought throughout American history.--Pop Matters

A work that highlights Indian voices more effectively than almost any synthesizing work in the field.--Jennifer Graber. Journal of Southern Religion

[A] compelling study. . . . This work will captivate readers of American religious and racial history.--Library Journal

Blum and Harvey have produced a rich and readable narrative that begins with the Puritans and concludes with Jesus in the age of Obama--Christian Century

This model of academic inquiry and analysis is clearly written, deeply researched, socially engaged, ambitious in the intellectual scope of its questions about race and religion, and methodical in its answers.--A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2012

Thoroughly fascinating.--Booklist Starred Review and 2013 Top 10 Black History Nonfiction

We are indebted to Blum and Harvey for their effort to unearth and reveal this picture of American encounters with the images of Jesus. . . . This is an extremely powerful book. . . . A must read.--Ponderings on a Faith Journey Book of the Year 2012

An astute examination of the connection between culture and racialized understanding of Jesus within the American context. . . . Helpful for exploring a topic which is still controversial today.--Black Theology

A powerful and groundbreaking book. . . . [Blum and Harvey] masterfully probe how a sacred icon can be a tool at once of racial oppression and liberation. A must-read for those interested in American religious history, this book will forever change the way you look at images of Jesus.--Publishers Weekly Starred Review

An engaging and sympathetic piece of scholarship that will appeal to a wide audience. It will be a significant contribution to many literatures, including those that consider European and American Christianity, constructions of race, and race relations.--North Carolina Historical Review

An ambitious book that is a must read for anyone interested in how the white Jesus captured the modern American religious and racial imagination. Blum and Harvey's coverage of a wide-ranging historical, religious, racial, and ethnic material is impressive. The book is lucid and well-written for a general readership.--Religion & Theology