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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Discussion of how Americans have made Jesus into their image, August 13, 2006
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This review is from: American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon (Paperback)
This was a fascinating, well written book. Prothero discusses how Jesus has been co-opted and claimed by numerous groups in the United States. He discusses the Jesus Movement's Hippie Jesus, the Black Jesus, the Oriental Jesus, the evolving Jewish understanding of Jesus, and the Sweet Savior Jesus of the 19th century church hymns.

Prothero also has a chapter about the movement in the early 20th century to make Jesus more muscular and masculine. He also has an informative discussion about the impact of the classic Sallmann painting "Head of Christ."

I also enjoyed the chapter about the Elder Brother Mormon Jesus. I had no idea that there was such a difference of opinion about how to approach Jesus within Mormon circles.

The only comment I have by way of criticism is that Prothero tends to be a bit sensationalistic in the way he writes. He speaks of the Second Person of the Trinity breaking free from the control of God the Father, as if there was a heavenly falling out between the two.

He also makes unneccesarily sharp bifurcations between Calvinism and evangelicalism, apparently not realizing that many Calvinists were evangelicals (Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield).

But this book is so well written and well researched in spite of its flaws, that I have no choice but to give it my highest recommendation. Again, it must be stressed that this is not a book about the biblical Jesus or the historical Jesus, but it is a look at the cultural American Jesus, and how He has been viewed by Americans.
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