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384 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 14 halftones, notes, bibl., index

Cloth
ISBN  978-0-8078-3344-5
Published: January 2010

Zeal for Zion

Christians, Jews, and the Idea of the Promised Land

By Shalom L. Goldman


The standard histories of Zionism have depicted it almost exclusively as a Jewish political movement, one in which Christians do not appear except as antagonists. In the highly original Zeal for Zion, Shalom Goldman makes the case for a wider and more inclusive history, one that brings the substantial Christian involvement with Zionism--most recently by American evangelical Protestants--into the light.

Goldman offers a fresh perspective on the history of Zionism, deftly weaving together the stories of poets and diplomats, Christian scholars and Jewish leaders, the Vatican and the State of Israel, and modern literary masters such as Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Graves, and Vladimir Nabokov. Goldman argues that Jewish Zionism was influenced by--and cannot be understood in isolation from--Christian culture generally and Christian Zionist culture specifically. Shedding light on the deep and interrelated roots of Christian-Jewish relations, fraught with tension and ambivalence, he finds that Christian support for the Jewish Zionist cause has been essential to the success of the movement.

Christian Zionism has a long history and has been embraced at various times by Catholics and Protestants, liberals and conservatives, reformers and traditionalists. Zeal for Zion places this vital movement within the larger history of Zionism, making the story of Zionism all the more rich and complex.

About the Author

Shalom Goldman is professor of Hebrew and Middle Eastern studies at Emory University. He is author or editor of four books, including God’s Sacred Tongue: Hebrew and the American Imagination (UNC Press).


Reviews

"Important if sometimes unsettling readings of history that could point to a reshaping of the traditional Zionist story. . . . A very useful and comprehensive review of the Protestant role in the establishment of Israel. . . . [A] necessary piece of historical housecleaning."
--Jewish Review of Books

"For those who think Christians are either far right, pro-Israel/anti-Arab Evangelicals or far left, pro-Arab/anti-Israel 'mainline' Protestants and Catholics, Shalom Goldman's Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews, and the Idea of the Promised Land should come as good news."
--The Jerusalem Post

“Shalom Goldman has succeeded in dealing with [Zionism] in a remarkably fair, clear, and informative way.”
--Times Literary Supplement

"A smartly conceived and original approach to the history of Zionism. . . . Concludes with a fascinating examination of the relationships between evangelicals, the Bush presidency and Israel."
--Christian Century

“A fascinating story. . . . Highly recommended to Jewish as well as Christian readers, and especially to Israelis.”
--Israel Studies Review

"A fresh look at the movement that spawned the Jewish homeland."
--Jewish Book World

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