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Future of Prophetic

Israel's Ancient Wisdom Re-presented

by Marc H. Ellis

Publication Year: 2014

Future of the Prophetic argues that in the persistence of the prophetic, the legacy of the ancient Jewish world spread beyond the boundaries of the Jewish community and took root throughout the world. As a way of wisdom and hope, this dual rooting—its grounding in the tradition of ancient Israel and its uncontained itinerancy—unveils a startling but promising new context: a re-presentation of the prophetic from outside the Jewish world to the Jewish community. The new situation of contemporary prophetic challenges the fixed religious landscape by reversing traditional boundaries, eschewing power and privilege, and brokering peace through solidarity and common struggle in ecumenical and interfaith contexts.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication, Quote

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pp. xi

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pp. 1-18

During the 1950s and early 1960s, America was opening to Jews. We also created our own openings. Even so, the idea of a Jewish political force was still in the future. Religiously, we remained in the ancient rabbinic framework of interpretation. We mined ancient precepts to cope with modern realities...

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1. Dream and Reality

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pp. 19-48

In the seventh decade of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, is there anything left to say, think, or do? Although many feel the possibilities for a solution to the crisis are exhausted, diplomacy continues. Yet diplomatic missions come and go. The Arab Spring has come and gone or, more to the point, has morphed into an...

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2. Are the True Colors of the JewsEmpire Blue?

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pp. 49-80

The state gives. The state takes away. Jewish statehood was a prize won on the battlefield, yet it soon morphed into a garrison state, just as the homeland Zionists predicted. The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians foretold the future—for both sides. Jews thought that placing the word Jewish before the word state would...

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3. Empire Boomerang

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pp. 81-104

When one community’s dream telling becomes another community’s reality, often a nightmare ensues. The indigenous people of Canaan experienced this when Israel arrived in the Promised Land. When Christianity became a state religion, Jews were denigrated and ultimately ghettoized. The American dream...

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4. The Search for Jewish Identity

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pp. 105-140

What are the true colors of Jews? If Jews have “true” colors, they haven’t always been the same. In history, Jews have worn coats of many colors, Joseph-style. Are Jews chameleons, changing colors with the season? Is there is an essence to Jews that comes from ancient Israel and is passed...

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5. Thinking Israel’s(and Palestine’s) Anniversary

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pp. 141-184

During the sixtieth anniversary of the birth of the state of Israel in 2008, 1948 was in the air in ways that it had rarely been before. Rather than celebration, soul searching was the order of the day. Looking back was a way of looking ahead. What was the future of a land where, after sixty years of struggle...

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6. Tunnel Vision

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pp. 185-212

Listen to Uri Avnery, the veteran Israel peace activist, commenting, as Akiva Eldar did, on the flood of visitors celebrating Israel’s sixtieth anniversary. “With friends like these,” indeed—Avnery doesn’t mince words about these people he labels as “Has-Beens”...

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7. Unraveling God

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pp. 213-248

As we traverse the Jewish world, Palestine casts an ominous shadow over everything Jewish. Indeed, at each anniversary of Israel’s birth, Palestine looms larger. During Israel’s sixtieth anniversary, Palestine’s presence was larger than on Israel’s fiftieth, and it was still larger on Israel’s sixty-fifth. Meanwhile, the...

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8. Martryological Imperialism

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pp. 249-284

Soon after the sixtieth anniversary of birth of the state of Israel, the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco had a gala opening in its new location. In a New York Times review, Edward Rothstein billed the museum, designed by the noted architect Daniel Libeskind, as the “West Coast of...

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9. One State—One Future?

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pp. 285-320

For decades, Jewish life and the perception of that life by non-Jews have been moving in different directions. The first romanticizes Jewish history: Jews are the great contributors and sufferers of history-only. The second renews the tradition of demonizing Jews and Judaism: Jews are intrinsically flawed and are...

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10. The Jewish (Prophetic) Prison

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pp. 321-360

The persistence of the prophetic is difficult to explain. Nor can it be defended with logical equations and data. Knowing that identity evolves and the deconstruction of identity claims is the order of the day, to declare that the Jewish prophetic is the root of the prophetic in the world, and that without it...

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pp. 361-370

Can a Jew be just? For that matter, can any person with a collective identity be just? It all depends, one might say, on a variety of variables. This includes the question: What is justice? What does commitment to justice mean? If we simply assume for a moment that because of Israel’s oppression of...


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pp. 371-278

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781451472370
E-ISBN-10: 1451472374
Print-ISBN-13: 9781451470109
Print-ISBN-10: 145147010X

Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2014