63) As Buell clarifies, "Early Christians used ethnic reasoning to legitimize various forms of Christianness
as the universal, most authentic manifestation of humanity, and it offered Christians both a way to define themselves relative to 'outsiders' and to compete with other 'insiders' to assert the superiority of their varying visions of Christianness
is different than White Jewishness.
As for Mendelssohn's oratorio St Paul, Heine did not want to find fault with its Christianness
because its composer was by birth a Jew.
Methodologically, I draw upon Denise Buell's concept of "ethnic reasoning"--early Christian texts' use of "culturally available understandings of human difference, which we can analyze in terms of our modern concepts of 'ethnicity,' 'race,' and 'religion,' to shape what we have come to call a religious tradition and to portray particular forms of Christianness
as universal and authoritative.
She examines how the epistle deliberately shapes emerging Christianness
by providing ideological and social paradigms for the community of Christ-followers.
Jewish ritual, when it appears, puts into relief the Christianness
Clearly, these people were (wrongly) perceived as lacking the requirements of belonging: whiteness, Christianness
, intelligence, inventiveness and goodness.
Indeed, Christian rhetoric against other groups, be they Jews or Gnostics, often included the charges that said groups reckoned their identity in a fixed manner in contrast to Christianity's fluidity: "Ethnic reasoning is an effective rhetorical device for those seeking to gain authority for their visions of Christianness
in part because they can use it to persuade readers to think of themselves and others using collective strategies" (p.
Daniel and Jonathan Boyarin note: "Consideration for a moment of the fact that for a long time Europe's Others consisted of Jews, Turks, 'Saracens,' and 'Moors'--all circumcised, of course--yields the surprising implication that un/circumcision becomes ultimately the diacritic of Christianness
, while absorption of Paul's affect .
The challenges, given the Christianness
of the American majority, are to avoid proclaiming America to be a Christian nation and to "avoid any suggestion that this majority sentiment justifies an official endorsement of Christian revelation.
Tomasch's conclusion is particularly suggestive: "What is important in appraising a writer such as Chaucer is [that] given his Englishness and his Christianness
, Chaucer could not help but contribute to the ongoing allosemitic construction of the virtual Jew.
There is a profound sense among many of these writers that Christians live in a post-institutional church--an age of the Holy Spirit or the realm of Christianness