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Ethnicity and Inclusion
Religion, Race, and Whiteness in Constructions of Jewish and Christian Identities
David G. Horrell
Foreword by Judith M. Lieu

HARDCOVER; Published: 10/29/2020
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7608-9
Price: $ 61.99
448 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Some of today’s problematic ideologies of racial and religious difference can be traced back to constructions of the relationship between Judaism and early Christianity. New Testament studies, which developed contemporaneously with Europe’s colonial expansion and racial ideologies, is, David Horrell argues, therefore an important site at which to probe critically these ideological constructions and their contemporary implications. 

In Ethnicity and Inclusion, Horrell explores the ways in which “ethnic” (and “religious”) characteristics feature in key Jewish and early Christian texts, challenging the widely accepted dichotomy between a Judaism that is ethnically defined and a Christianity that is open and inclusive. Then, through an engagement with whiteness studies, he offers a critique of the implicit whiteness and Christianness that continue to dominate New Testament studies today, arguing that a diversity of embodied perspectives is epistemologically necessary.

Table of Contents

Part One: Contexts of Research
     1. A Persistent Structural Dichotomy: Jewish Ethnic Particularism and Christian Inclusivism
     2. Ethnicity, Race, and Ancient Jewish and Christian Identities: Themes in Recent Research
     3. Ethnicity, Race, and Religion in Social-Scientific Perspective
Part Two: Comparisons of Jewish and Early Christian Perspectives
     4. Shared Descent: Ancestry, Kinship, Marriage, and Family
     5. A Common Way of Life: Culture, Practice, and the Socialization of Children
     6. Homeland: Territory and Symbolic Constructions of Space
     7. Becoming a People: Self-Consciousness and Ethnicization
     8. Mission and Conversion: Joining the People
Part Three: Reflections on Location and Epistemology
     9. Implicit Whiteness and Christian Superiority: The Epistemological Challenge

American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion, Constructive-Reflective Studies Finalist (2021)
“This magisterial and far-reaching book brings together New Testament and Jewish studies, the history of scholarship, social theory, and identity politics to show how biblical studies have helped to shape modern ideologies of religion and race. With vast scholarship and penetrating lucidity, Horrell shows why scholarship matters and challenges scholars to rethink the connections between the people we are and the arguments we make.”
— Teresa Morgan
University of Oxford
“David Horrell’s Ethnicity and Inclusion is an ambitious, impressive, and important work. It is wide-ranging, dealing not only with ancient Judaism and ancient Christianity, but also with theology, race, and whiteness. It is must reading for anyone in the field of early Christianity.”
— Matthew Thiessen
McMaster University
“This book treats some of the most important issues of our time, in New Testament studies and beyond: race, ethnicity, and Christian claims to universality and superiority. Participating in an important discussion spearheaded by womanist and African American hermeneutics, Horrell’s book magisterially teaches about the intricacies of ancient texts and the problems of the history of scholarship. It details ancient discourses of ancestry, marriage, way of life, homeland, peoplehood, and conversion. Ethnicity and Inclusion concludes with a call for the field to investigate its own provincialism, and the unnamed whiteness of much of New Testament scholarship.”
— Laura Nasrallah
Yale Divinity School
“Here is a landmark book, advancing biblical studies in multiple ways. Horrell provides a framework concerning how we might approach categories like ethnicity and religion in the ancient world, then interprets the diverse ways in which ancient Jews and the earliest Christians constructed group identity. Along the way, Horrell dismantles the facile distinction between exclusive Judaism and inclusive Christianity. Finally, this book pioneers the application of critical race theory, particularly whiteness studies, to the formation of biblical scholarship. . . . One of the very few most important books of the year in its field.”
— Greg Carey
Lancaster Theological Seminary
“In Ethnicity and Inclusion, David Horrell has successfully shown how careful readings of New Testament texts can be combined not only with theoretical reflection but also with a contextualization of contemporary scholarship. In recent decades, scholars of New Testament texts have barely moved from their intellectual comfort zones. This has been problematic for the development of the field as a whole and unwittingly contributed to the perpetuation of both the racialization of interpretation and the structures of the guild. Horrell’s latest contribution has the potential to blow this tired tradition wide open and become one of the defining books in the field so far this century.”
— James Crossley
St. Mary’s University, London
“Situated critically in our age of identity politics and inclusion, this incisive and discerning study undermines a dichotomy between ‘ethnic’ Judaism and ‘universal’ Christianity perpetuated in various forms in modern New Testament scholarship to the present. Not itself pretending to have a view from nowhere, it invites further interrogation of its own conclusions. Both modest and profound, it marks a hermeneutical watershed in biblical studies, issuing a pressing summons to biblical scholars and Christian theologians alike to a reparative, self-critical approach to today’s fraught issues of identity.”
— Susannah Ticciati
King’s College London
“In this hugely important and timely volume, David Horrell offers a fresh and persuasive account of early Christian identity creation. Deploying insights from whiteness studies, he convincingly demonstrates the unacknowledged and unreflective, yet influential, role that race has contributed to Christian exceptionalism endemic in scholarly accounts of the early church as uniquely open, inclusive, universal, and non-ethnic over and against the ‘ethnic particularity’ of Judaism. Through careful and wide-ranging readings of Jewish and New Testament texts, he shows there were in fact forms of non-ethnic inclusivism in Judaism, as well as ethnicization tendencies in early Christianity. In what is sure to become a classic text on early Christian identity, David Horrell issues a welcome challenge to all scholars (himself included) to be more attentive to our own racial locatedness and particularity.”
— Paul Middleton
University of Chester
“Racism is perpetuated by claims about history, identity, and religion, especially within the Christian tradition. Resistance to racism must, then, include the reassessment of those claims, pressing back through the problematic history of interpretation to consider the biblical texts themselves in all their complexity and nuance. In this stunning work of engaged scholarship, David Horrell shows how ill-founded claims about early Christianity reveal our complicity in hermeneutical and theological discourses marked by racist assumptions and consequent practices. Horrell’s careful survey of ancient identity construction makes this an important book for scholars and students of Jewish and Christian identity. But the final chapter on the endemic presence of whiteness in New Testament scholarship makes Ethnicity and Inclusion essential.”
— Sean Winter
Pilgrim Theological College, University of Melbourne
Ethnicity and Inclusion is surely one of the most important books written in New Testament studies in the last few decades. With nuance, care, and admirable self-awareness, David Horrell demonstrates not just how white, male, and Christian the field has been, but the implications of these facts and where we might go from here. We have much work to do in the coming years, but Horrell has shown us where to start.”
— Chris Keith
St. Mary’s University
Reviews in Religion & Theology
Ethnicity and Inclusion is a challenging read, not in the sense that the argument is difficult to follow or poorly constructed. The opposite is true; Horrell’s case is carefully and cogently expressed. Rather, it is challenging in the sense that it forces those who have not fully examined the privileged position from which they conduct their scholarship to attend to that privilege and think about how it can be used to ensure those who are marginalized are given the place they deserve at the table. Ethnicity and Inclusion is important reading for anyone who wants to reflect on the practices and presuppositions of modern New Testament studies.”
The Journal of Theological Studies
“A clearly written analysis of the impact of contemporary understanding of ‘ethnicity’, ‘race’, and ‘religion’— all contested categories—on scholarly constructions of the identities of the ancient Jewish and Christian people groups.”