Begrimed and Black: Christian Traditions on Blacks and Blackness

Much in line with the Greek and Romans’ black presence in antiquity and with the advent of Christianity.


Robert E Hood’s unique and fascinating work in Begrimed and Black probes the mythic roots of racial prejudice in Western attitudes toward colour. With special attention to the history of ideas, but also to pictorial images and popular movements, Hood documents the inception and growth of the myth of black carnality, with its commingling of disdain and desire, fear and fascination.

In tracing that vein from Graeco-Roman and biblical sources through signal moments in subsequent history, Hood shoes how Christianity forged the key links between blackness, evil, sexuality, and magic. He also tracks how Christendom has been a crucial bearer of ideas that sealed the fate of millions of Africans in the colonial era and that still figure prominently in subordination of blacks and in the disfiguring of American society.