Jesus in America: Personal Savior, Cultural Hero, National Obsession : Wednesday, June 23, 2004
June 23 2004 by Richard Wrightman Fox. Harper San Francisco. 2004. 496 pages. $27.95.

Jesus in America: Personal Savior, Cultural Hero, National Obsession : Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Jesus in America: Personal Savior, Cultural Hero, National Obsession

By Richard Wrightman Fox. Harper San Francisco. 2004. 496 pages. $27.95.
Review by Wayne Hager

If this year you read only one book that deals with some aspect of American history, this is the book you should read. Richard Fox has done a masterful job of tracing the cultural history of America and how Jesus plays a part decade after decade. He begins with the arrival of the English Puritans and concludes with the influence of Jesus in the politics and entertainment of today. Along the way Fox shows with extensive illustrations how Jesus has influenced most of the major turning points in American history.

What is consistent in Fox's exploration is how people of every generation have managed to interpret Jesus in such a way as to serve their own political or cultural ends. No matter where one stands on the conservative-liberal continuum, Fox gives all of us pause to reconsider our own view of Jesus. When we see how the image of Jesus has so often reflected, and supported, the prevailing culture, or been used to oppose the culture, our level of dogmatism about our view of Jesus is sure to drop. We might just be the ones that future cultural historians look at as major re-imagers of Jesus.

For the historian, Fox provides details of American history. For the theologian, he explores the theological ramifications of competing images of Jesus within one culture. For the believer, he affirms the place of Jesus as the most influential person to walk the earth while recognizing the belief in his divinity. For the non-believer, Fox unveils the impact of Jesus in ways many would not easily recognize. His writing is personal enough to convey the passion about Jesus held in every generation, and professional enough to demonstrate the work of a cultural historian at the top of his game.

6/23/2004 12:00:00 AM by Richard Wrightman Fox. Harper San Francisco. 2004. 496 pages. $27.95. | with 0 comments




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