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American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon by Stephen Prothero
In American Jesus, Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University, details how the role of Jesus in American Christianity and culture has changed from deity to celebrity and icon. When the Puritans arrived, God was the focus of Christianity, but over the next 200 years, Jesus has supplanted his father as the central figure in the religion, and was appropriated for different roles by other groups and religions within the country. Thomas Jefferson excised the story of Jesus from the New Testament to separate him for the corrupt part of Christianity. Some have painted Jesus as more feminine, caring and comforting, while others portray him more masculine, a manly leader and redeemer. Prothero also details how non-Christians have redefined Jesus for their own uses. American Jesus has received positive reviews, with Newsday saying, "American Jesus offers a fascinating tour d'horizon. For believers, it's testimony to Jesus' everlasting power and glory. For skeptics, it's proof positive there's a sucker born every minute."