Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation: The Challenge of the 21st Century

By Marc H. Ellis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
A Tradition of Dissent

The idea of a Jewish homeland seems today, when considered at all, a faded memory of a distant utopian vision, given the reality of a Jewish state. Yet, as a symbol of dissent, as a cornerstone of a tradition of disparate voices, its power is formidable. In the twenty-first century it may become relevant again.

The non-nationalistic tradition of the Jewish people, as Hannah Arendt wrote of it in 1948, remains alive today, though transformed in language and outlook in response to more than five decades of Israeli statehood. The very titles of Arendt's essay, “To Save the Jewish Homeland: There Is Still Time,” and of Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht's book, The Fate of the Jews: A People Torn Between Israeli Power and Jewish Ethics, are themselves testimony to a continuity that remains in the twenty-first century.

Many of those who have spoken of Israel's reversal from beacon to burden, over the years of statehood, have been ostracized from the Jewish community, excommunicated, as it were, as heretics. Non-Zionist and even anti-Zionist Jews, who were certainly a majority of the Jewish people earlier in the twentieth century and who may have a significant, albeit inarticulate, following today, have been stricken from Jewish history, erased from our inheritance.

Yet, many of their ideas are now found without attribution in contemporary Jewish dissent. To recall the vision of those ostracized and excommunicated, as well as their limitations, provides a line of continuity for dissent and, perhaps, a depth lacking in the discussion today.

-75-

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Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation: The Challenge of the 21st Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - A Shattered Witness 15
  • Chapter 2 - The Cost of Empowerment 31
  • Chapter 3 - Memory as Burden and Possibility 51
  • Chapter 4 - A Tradition of Dissent 75
  • Chapter 5 - Toward an Inclusive Liturgy of Destruction 115
  • Chapter 6 - Liberation Struggles and the Jewish Community 145
  • Chapter 7 - From Holocaust to Solidarity 203
  • Epilogue - The Coming of Constantinian and Evangelical Judaism 227
  • Notes 235
  • Index 253
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