This article starts from the observation that current debates about race and racism are often couched in soteriological terms such as guilt and forgiveness, or confession and exoneration, and it argues that this overlap calls for theological analysis. Using the debate about Achille Mbembe’s disinvitation from the German art festival ‘Ruhrtriennale’ 2020 as a case that is typical of a specifically Western European discourse on race, it first sketches a brief genealogy of the modern/colonial history of religio-racialisation and its intersections with Christian tradition, in which racial categories were forged in soteriological discourses, and in which, in turn, soteriological categories were shaped by racist discourses. It proposes that in this process, Christianity, Whiteness and salvation were conflated in a way that has sponsored White supremacy, disguised as innocence. Engaging with performative race theory, the article concludes by making a constructive proposal for a performative theology of race that can account for the profound intersections between racism and soteriology, but also opens trajectories for transforming hegemonic discourses of race and their theological underpinnings.
This article will look at the ideology of veganism in the AHIJ. Since the early 1970s their diet has been a core part of their ideology and of their message to the world. Acknowledging that a black/Jewish meat-free diet is far from the exclusive property of the group, let alone a new development on their part, I will argue that it is an expression of the syncretic “bricoleur” nature of Black Israelite thought (Dorman 2013), reflecting, drawing on, and transforming traditions existing in both African American and Jewish thought in and before the twentieth century – principally articulated as a concern for health in the former and a messianic return to the peaceful Edenic existence in the latter. However, Ben Ammi skillfully intertwines it into their theology by arguing that a return to the veganism of the Garden of Eden is part of the community’s redemption of humanity from primordial sin and ultimate overcoming of the curse of death.