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An Unusual Relationship

Evangelical Christians and Jews

Yaakov Ariel

Publication Year: 2013

"In this enormously well researched and gracefully argued book, Ariel develops a nuanced theme: the complexity, ambivalence, and even paradox that has characterized conservative Protestant beliefs regarding Jews and Israel, and the diverse responses among Jews. . . . First-rate scholarship presented in a pleasingly accessible style."
—Stephen Spector, author of Evangelicals and Israel: The Story of American Christian Zionism
It is generally accepted that Jews and evangelical Christians have little in common. Yet special alliances developed between the two groups in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Evangelicals viewed Jews as both the rightful heirs of Israel and as a group who failed to recognize their true savior. Consequently, they set out to influence the course of Jewish life by attempting to evangelize Jews and to facilitate their return to Palestine. Their double-edged perception caused unprecedented political, cultural, and theological meeting points that have revolutionized Christian-Jewish relationships. An Unusual Relationship explores the beliefs and political agendas that evangelicals have created in order to affect the future of the Jews.
This volume offers a fascinating, comprehensive analysis of the roots, manifestations, and consequences of evangelical interest in the Jews, and the alternatives they provide to conventional historical Christian-Jewish interactions. It also provides a compelling understanding of Middle Eastern politics through a new lens.
Yaakov Ariel is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His book, Evangelizing the Chosen People, was awarded the Albert C. Outler prize by the American Society of Church History.
In the Goldstein-Goren Series in American Jewish History

Published by: NYU Press


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p. 1-1


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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-9

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pp. ix-x

This book would not have been possible without the support of numerous institutions and individuals. In carrying out the research and writing for this book, I received invaluable assistance from a number of foundations. The Louisville Institute and its ...

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pp. 1-14

In 2002, the American government released a 1972 recording of a conversation that Richard Nixon, one of America’s most controversial presidents, conducted with Billy Graham, America’s most respectable ...

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1. The Roots and Early Beginnings of the Evangelical-Jewish Relationship

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pp. 15-34

The evangelicals’ interest in the Jews, the role they ascribe to that people in history, and their understanding of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity have roots that go back as far as the early generations ...

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2. The Evangelical Messianic Faith and the Jews

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pp. 35-57

The evangelical messianic vision, in which the Jews play a central role, draws on a long Christian eschatological tradition.1 Christianity started as a messianic movement, its early texts speaking about apocalyptic ...

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3. Evangelical Theologians, Institutions, and Publications and the Jews

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pp. 58-81

Leading evangelists, major Protestant publications, popular prophetic conferences, and new teaching institutions were instrumental in spreading and shaping the dispensationalist messianic hope in America and ...

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4. Evangelicals and Jewish Restoration

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pp. 82-99

As early as the seventeenth century, Protestants holding to the premillennialist faith had followed the prospect of Jewish restoration to Zion and had promoted the idea that Christians should assist Jews in ...

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5. Evangelicals and Jews in the Holy Land

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pp. 100-110

William Blackstone was one of a long series of evangelical Christians who found meaning in the Holy Land. In principle, evangelical Protestants had not recognized the concept of holy sites, but during the ...

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6. Instructing Christians and Jews: Evangelical Missions to the Jews

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pp. 111-125

Since the eighteenth century, missions to the Jews have occupied a central place in the agenda of evangelical Christians. Their meaning for evangelicals has gone far beyond trying to turn individual Jews into confessing Christians, though this aspect of missionary work has certainly ...

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7. Evangelical Yiddish: Christian Literature in a Jewish Language

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pp. 126-141

Residents of Jewish neighborhoods in the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century noticed a phenomenon that at first glance seemed like an oxymoron—Christian missionaries distributing literature ...

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8. Evangelical Christians and Anti-Jewish Conspiracy Theories

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pp. 142-152

Not all evangelical views on Jews’ culture and literary heritage were affirming; at times, they had a darker side. In 1933, for example, Arno Gaebelein, a renowned conservative evangelical theologian, published ...

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9. The Evangelical Understanding of the Holocaust

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pp. 153-170

Since the 1970s, the evangelical rank and file have shown growing awareness of the suffering of Jews and others during the Second World War. Books relating to the Holocaust have become popular in evangelical ...

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10. Evangelicals and the Birth of the Jewish State

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pp. 171-197

While evangelical activists and leaders noted the plight of Jews in Europe under the Nazi and communist regimes, they also followed the growth of the Jewish community in the Land of Israel with interest and ...

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11. Evangelical Christians and the Building of the Temple

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pp. 198-213

In August of 1969, a young evangelical Christian, Dennis Michael Rohan, set fire to the al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount. A member of the Church of God, Rohan was motivated by a desire to bring ...

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12. Evangelical Jews: The Rise of Messianic Judaism

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pp. 214-244

In the 1970s and 1980s, both Jews and Christians were surprised to see the rise of a large and vigorous movement of Christian evangelical Jews. Considering the two faiths to be completely separated from each ...

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pp. 245-252

In the history of relationships between religious communities the interactions between evangelicals and Jews have been extraordinary. In no other instance have members of one community of faith considered ...


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pp. 253-292


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pp. 293-306

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About the Author

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pp. 307-318

Yaakov Ariel is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and obtained his PhD from the University of Chicago. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814762936
E-ISBN-10: 0814770681
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814770689
Print-ISBN-10: 0814770681

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2013