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American Jesus

How the Son of God Became a National Icon

Stephen Prothero

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Jesus the Black Messiah; Jesus the Jew; Jesus the Hindu sage; Jesus the Haight-Asbury hippie: these Jesuses join the traditional figure of Jesus Christ in American Jesus, which was acclaimed upon publication in hardcover as an altogether fresh exploration of American history--and as the liveliest book about Jesus to appear in English in years.

Our nation's changing images of Jesus, Stephen Prothero contends, are a kind of looking class into the national character. Even as most Christian believers cleave to a traditional faith, other people give Jesus a leading role as folk hero, pitchman, and countercultural icon. And so it has been since the nation's founding--from Thomas Jefferson, who took scissors to his New Testament to sort out true from false Jesus material; to the Jews, Buddhists and Muslims who fit Jesus into their own traditions; to the people who adapt Jesus for stage and screen and the Holy Land theme park. American Jesus is "a lively, illuminating and accessible survey that takes us into unexpected corners of our shared religious heritage" (Dan Cryer, Newsday).

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American Jesus
PART ONEResurrectionsOneENLIGHTENED SAGEThomas Jefferson is revered in the United States today as the author of the Declaration of Independence, the architect of the First Amendment, and one of the saints of American civil religion. Though questions persist regarding his views on race and his relationship with his slave Sally Hemings, he is widely respected nonetheless as one of the nation's great champions of individual freedom. Jefferson's reputation was quite different in his own time. In fact, the country's third president was one of the most polarizing politicians of his
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Stephen Prothero

  • Stephen Prothero is the chairman of the Department of Religion at Boston University. He is the author of The White Buddhist: The Asian Odyssey of Henry Steel Olcott and Purified by Fire: Cremation in American Culture. He has written for Salon and other publications.
  • Stephen Prothero
    Stephen Prothero
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    American Jesus

    How the Son of God Became a National Icon

    Stephen Prothero

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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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