Catalogue

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American Zion [electronic resource] : the Old Testament as a political text from the Revolution to the Civil War /
Eran Shalev.
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2013]
description
x, 239 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780300186925 (cloth : alkaline paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2013]
isbn
9780300186925 (cloth : alkaline paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
"The Jewish Cincinnatus" : Biblical Republicanism in the Age of the American Revolution -- "The United Tribes, or States of Israel" : The Hebrew Republic as a Political Model before the Civil War -- "A Truly American Spirit of Writing" : Pseudobiblicism, the Early Republic, and the Cultural Origins of the Book of Mormon -- Tribes Lost and Found : Israelites in Nineteenth-Century America -- Evangelicalism, Slavery, and the Decline of an Old Testament Nation -- Conclusion: Beyond Old Testamentism : The New Israel after the Civil War.
catalogue key
11947125
 
Includes bibliographical references (pages 193-229) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2013-02-11:
Shalev, a history professor at Haifa University, convincingly demonstrates how the language of the Hebrew Bible was pervasive in political culture and politics during the creation of America and in its earliest years. The identification of the U.S. as a new Israel circulated in political discourse, speeches, pamphlets, private correspondence, sermons, poetry, and newspapers, providing Americans with critical perspectives on Britain's management of the colonies and invoking biblical sanction for nation-building. At times, the use of biblical language channeled anxiety about whether America's union might falter like that of ancient Israel. Deists such as Franklin and Jefferson imagined the revolution as an Exodus-like deliverance from slavery. Books described George Washington as the American Gideon who was able to defeat an enemy, despite being outnumbered and having fewer resources. Early Americans theorized that American Indians were remnants of the Lost Ten Tribes to make sense of them in their world view. During the Civil War, this "pseudobiblicism," as Shalev calls it, morphed into a language of mission and lost cause. Shalev's analysis shows how Old Testament biblical language, particularly the idea of chosenness, lingers in contemporary political discourse. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
" American Zion offers a revelatory account of how Hebraism shaped the American political, literary, and religious imagination during the first century of our national life. Eran Shalev demonstrates unforgettably that when Americans referred to themselves as the "new Israel," they were not speaking metaphorically."- Eric Nelson, Harvard University
" American Zion offers a revelatory account of how Hebraism shaped the American political, literary, and religious imagination during the first century of our national life. Eran Shalev demonstrates unforgettably that when Americans referred to themselves as the "new Israel," they were not speaking metaphorically."-- Eric Nelson, Harvard University
"An illuminating study of the Old Testament's political influence from the American Revolution to the Civil War. Shalev has made an outstanding contribution to the conversation around one of the most accepted religious constructions of American exceptionalism in recent historiography."--James P. Byrd, Vanderbilt University
"An illuminating study of the Old Testament's political influence from the American Revolution to the Civil War. Shalev has made an outstanding contribution to the conversation around one of the most accepted religious constructions of American exceptionalism in recent historiography."-James P. Byrd, Vanderbilt University
"Erudite . . . [and] convincing." Jordan Michael Smith, Daily Beast
"In this erudite, readable, and exciting new book, Eran Shalev takes the reader to previously uncharted biblical waters He breaks new ground by presenting a unified vision of an "American political theology." I would present this book as an exemplary model for how to "do" history in relation to theology."--Shalom Goldman, Duke University
"In this erudite, readable, and exciting new book, Eran Shalev takes the reader to previously uncharted biblical waters He breaks new ground by presenting a unified vision of an "American political theology." I would present this book as an exemplary model for how to "do" history in relation to theology."-Shalom Goldman, Duke University
"This well-researched, creatively argued, historiographically well-informed, and genuinely insightful book is an impressive piece of work and should have a broad appeal."--Mark Noll, University of Notre Dame
"This well-researched, creatively argued, historiographically well-informed, and genuinely insightful book is an impressive piece of work and should have a broad appeal."-Mark Noll, University of Notre Dame
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, February 2013
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
The Bible has always been an integral part of American political culture. Yet in the years before the Civil War, it was the Old Testament that influenced political rhetoric. This book explores how this powerful predicliction for Old Testament narratives & rhetoric shaped a wide range of debates & cultural discussions.
Description for Bookstore
This original book examines the widespread notion in America's early decades that the United States was a second or new Israel, an idea that powerfully influenced nationalism, politics, and culture.
Main Description
The Bible has always been an integral part of American political culture. Yet in the years before the Civil War, it was the Old Testament, not the New Testament, that pervaded political rhetoric. From Revolutionary times through about 1830, numerous American politicians, commentators, ministers, and laymen depicted their young nation as a new, God-chosen Israel and relied on the Old Testament for political guidance. In this original book, historian Eran Shalev closely examines how this powerful predilection for Old Testament narratives and rhetoric in early America shaped a wide range of debates and cultural discussions-from republican ideology, constitutional interpretation, southern slavery, and more generally the meaning of American nationalism to speculations on the origins of American Indians and to the emergence of Mormonism. Shalev argues that the effort to shape the United States as a biblical nation reflected conflicting attitudes within the culture-proudly boastful on the one hand but uncertain about its abilities and ultimate destiny on the other. With great nuance, American Zion explores for the first time the meaning and lasting effects of the idea of the United States as a new Israel and sheds new light on our understanding of the nation's origins and culture during the founding and antebellum decades.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
"The Jewish Cincinnatus": Biblical Republicanism in the Age of the American Revolutionp. 15
"The United Tribes, or States of Israel": The Hebrew Republic as a Political Model before the Civil Warp. 50
"A Truly American Spirit of Writing": Pseudobiblicism, the Early Republic, and the Cultural Origins of the Book of Mormonp. 84
Tribes Lost and Found: Israelites in Nineteenth-Century Americap. 118
Evangelicalism, Slavery, and the Decline of an Old Testament Nationp. 151
Conclusion: Beyond Old Testamentism: The New Israel after the Civil Warp. 185
Notesp. 193
Indexp. 231
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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