Ethnicity and Argument in Eusebius’ Praeparatio Evangelica by Aaron P. Johnson and Race: A Theological Account by J. Kameron Carter

I have read Ethnicity and Argument by Johnson and will finish the Carter book soon.

Ethnicity and Argument in Eusebius’ Praeparatio Evangelica by Aaron P. Johnson

Eusebius’ magisterial Praeparatio Evangelica (written sometime between AD 313 and 324) offers an apologetic defence of Christianity in the face of Greek accusations of irrationality and impiety. Though brimming with the quotations of other (often lost) Greek authors, the work is dominated by a clear and sustained argument. Against the tendency to see the Praeparatio as merely an anthology of other sources or a defence of monotheistic religion against paganism, Aaron P. Johnson seeks to appreciate Eusebius’ contribution to the discourses of Christian identity by investigating the constructions of ethnic identity (especially Greek) at the heart of his work. Analysis of his `ethnic argumentation’ exhibits a method of defending Christianity by construing its opponents as historically rooted nations, whose place in the narrative of world history serves to undermine the legitimacy of their claims to ancient wisdom and piety.

Eusebius of Caesarea used an image of the black Madonna as preparatio evangelii or evangelical preparation. Read more here:

Race: A Theological Account by  J. Kameron Carter:

In Race: A Theological Account, J. Kameron Carter meditates on the multiple legacies implicated in the production of a racialized world and that still mark how we function in it and think about ourselves. These are the legacies of colonialism and empire, political theories of the state, anthropological theories of the human, and philosophy itself, from the eighteenth-century Enlightenment to the present.

Carter’s claim is that Christian theology, and the signal transformation it (along with Christianity) underwent, is at the heart of these legacies. In that transformation, Christian anti-Judaism biologized itself so as to racialize itself. As a result, and with the legitimation of Christian theology, Christianity became the cultural property of the West, the religious ground of white supremacy and global hegemony. In short, Christianity became white. The racial imagination is thus a particular kind of theological problem.

Not content only to describe this problem, Carter constructs a way forward for Christian theology. Through engagement with figures as disparate in outlook and as varied across the historical landscape as Immanuel Kant, Frederick Douglass, Jarena Lee, Michel Foucault, Cornel West, Albert Raboteau, Charles Long, James Cone, Irenaeus of Lyons, Gregory of Nyssa, and Maximus the Confessor, Carter reorients the whole of Christian theology, bringing it into the twenty-first century.

Neither a simple reiteration of Black Theology nor another expression of the new theological orthodoxies, this groundbreaking book will be a major contribution to contemporary Christian theology, with ramifications in other areas of the humanities.


Leave a Reply