The Forging of Races

Reading time 1 min.

Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600–2000
Colin Kidd University of Glasgow

Colin Kidd University of Glasgow

This book revolutionises our understanding of race. Building upon the insight that races are products of culture rather than biology, Colin Kidd demonstrates that the Bible – the key text in Western culture – has left a vivid imprint on modern racial theories and prejudices.

Fixing his attention on the changing relationship between race and theology in the Protestant Atlantic world between 1600 and 2000 Kidd shows that, while the Bible itself is colour-blind, its interpreters have imported racial significance into the scriptures.

Kidd’s study probes the theological anxieties which lurked behind the confident facade of of white racial supremacy in the age of empire and race slavery, as well as the ways in which racialist ideas left their mark upon new forms of religiosity.

This is essential reading for anyone interested in the histories of race or religion.

• An innovative and controversial survey of the relationship of race and theology over the past four centuries

• Describes the religious underpinnings of modern racism

• A major contribution to Atlantic history, intellectual history and religious studies


1. Prologue : race in the eye of the beholder ;

2. Introduction : race as scripture problem ;

3. Race and religious orthodoxy in the early modern era ;

4. Race, the Enlightenment and the authority of scripture ;

5. Monogenesis, slavery and the nineteenth-century crisis of faith ;

6. The Aryan moment : racializing religion in the nineteenth century ;

7. Forms of racialized religion ;

8. Black counter-theologies ;

9. Conclusion.

Observatory of Religions  The 21st century will be or not be religious. This Malraux prophecy is being fufilled: the impact of religion on political, economic, financial and social spheres is making front page news. Observatory of Religions’ (L’Observatoire des religions) perspective, that is; the observation, analysis and commentary of religious issues in a current affairs framework, is purely unreligious. L'Observatoir des Religions was created by Philippe Simonnot, economist and author of numerous works on history and economics.
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