This thesis aims to enhance the academic conception of American anti-Semitism by analyzing the rhetorical visions of two distinctly American theologies: Christian Identity and Black Israelism. Using a theoretical framework that couches the rhetoric of both religious movements within their respective historical contexts, I seek to understand the persuasive appeals of the alternative histories that lead both movements to conclude that their racial group is descended from the ancient Israelites--a status both movements claim has been "usurped" by contemporary Jews. After contextualizing their rhetoric, I juxtapose the rhetorical vision of Christian Identity with that of Black Israelism, concluding that the former can be understood as a movement and narrative premised on racial hubris whose paranoid rhetoric makes meaningful contributions to the climate of anti-Semitism, while the latter constitutes a movement and narrative premised on historically-legitimated suspicion whose paranoid rhetoric, though invidious, does not constitute a comparable threat.
- Understanding the "Usurpers": A Communicative Comparison of Christian Identity and Black Israelism
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