This essay addresses how the long process of the “Aryanisation” of Christian Europe in which it forgot its own provenance is conveyed in the history of the family tree. It traces the image of the family tree as it was extracted from the realm of Hebrew biblical narrative, became the means of representing Indo-European linguistic differentiation and then, finally, Aryan racial superiority and separation from the (conjured) figure of the Semite. The family tree exemplifies a more generalisable pattern of the forgetfulness of Christianity's debts to other modalities, ontologies, and narratives in the quest to establish itself as pure, singular, monolingual, and monochrome. The Tree of Jesse serves as a particular and important example of the patrilineal and fraternal affiliations and disaffiliations in the trajectory of the genealogy of the family tree, motivated by desires to support claims to pedigree and patrimony, reversed from a model of descent to one of ascent with the European “Aryans.”
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