Proposing an Alternative Narrative: An Ethnoracial Reading of Matthew 26–27



This chapter presents an alternative reading of Jesus’ crucifixion as ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων in Matthew’s passion narrative. The argument, in short, is that Jesus is minoritized as an ethnoracial-other. Just as important as its substance, however, is the basis for the alternative narrative. The reading is pursued in light of the experiences of US minority groups, drawing on four conventional tropes that have been historically used against Native Americans (“being proud”), African Americans (“being inferior”), Latino/a Americans (“being illegal”), and Asian Americans (“being foreign”). These four tropes—alternatively summarized as beyond, below, between, and besides the normative center of whiteness—furnish a critical lens to reframe the politics of race/ethnicity. Accordingly, the title ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων is not a positive messianic designation. It is an ethnoracial slur that signifies Jesus’ death on a Roman crucifix as a grotesque act of minoritization—specifically, Judean ethnoracialization.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Belmont UniversityNashvilleUSA

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