Catalogue


God's peoples : covenant and land in South Africa, Israel, and Ulster /
Donald Harman Akenson.
imprint
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1992.
description
xi, 404 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
ISBN
080142755X (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1992.
isbn
080142755X (alk. paper)
catalogue key
348906
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 359-393) and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Wallace K. Ferguson Award, CAN, 1993 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1993-04:
In this important work of intellectual history Akenson argues that the covenant of the ancient Hebrews, with all of its stories, laws, and taboos, is the single most powerful cultural construct yet built by humankind. This influence manifests itself in the concern for purity and the necessity for endogamy, which, in the case of South Africa, resulted in apartheid laws. Similarly, the story of the Exodus was reified as each of the three modern cultures compared in this study made their claims to land on the basis of emulating the trek of the ancient Hebrews. The history of the West, states the author, is one in which every European nation at one time or another has produced leaders as prophets who claimed that their country was the chosen of God; this fervor, for the most part, faded quickly. In the case of the three cultures considered here, the idea of chosenness is very much alive. Failure to use the lens of the ancient Hebrews as a primary mode of viewing the Ulster-Scots, the Afrikaners, and the Israelis will result, according to Akenson, in an inability to comprehend their history and their future. To be read along with Dan Jacobson's The Story of Stories: The Chosen People and It's God (CH, Dec'82). Graduate. J. Fischel; Millersville University
Appeared in Library Journal on 1992-09:
In this sterling study of three of the world's most obdurate political conflicts, Akenson finds a common thread in the views of Ulster Scots Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed Church Afrikaners, and the Jews of Israel, each of whom are committed to an Old Testament-like covenant with God that promises them the land they struggled to get if they make the commitment and sacrifice necessary in such a covenant. With superb scholarship and compelling writing, Akenson brilliantly documents the creation of this mentality of commitment and siege (these are God's chosen people under attack from external enemies). He takes us to the present with the fraying of the Ulster covenant by the Catholic civil rights movement of 1969; the worldwide response to apartheid after 1969; and the claim of the Jews to ``greater Israel'' after the 1967 war. Akenson concludes that patience works better than confrontation with these societies. The combination of a masterful handling of comparative history, an engaging and well-supported thesis, and a challenging but not condescending treatment of these three societies makes this a highly recommended choice for most libraries. --Richard B. Finnegan, Stonehill Coll., North Easton, Mass. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1992-09-14:
In Akenson's unorthodox view, the ruling Afrikaners of South Africa, the Jews of modern Israel and the Protestant Ulster-Scots of Northern Ireland share a ``covenantal mindset.'' Inspired by the ancient Hebrews' covenant with their God Yahweh, he asserts, each of these three groups believes it is a Chosen People with a sacred claim to a promised land. Although the comparative history of the three groups is sometimes provocative, the extended historical analogy breaks down at many points and is rife with speculation and leaps of logic. Regarding the Jews' settlement of Israel and their confiscation of Arab lands as a ``collective act of colonization,'' Akenson rebukes Zionist settlers who viewed Palestinian Arabs as backward and not a genuine people. He suggests that the covenantal mindset is gradually dissolving in South Africa and Northern Ireland, but contends that the Israelis are hardening in their determination to fulfill their ancient covenant. Akenson is a professor of history at Queen's University in Canada. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, August 1992
Library Journal, September 1992
Publishers Weekly, September 1992
Choice, April 1993
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Chosen as one of Library Journal's Best Books of 1992 ?Superb scholarship and compelling writing.'--Library Journal ?Splendidly illuminating and enthrallingly readable.'--Conor Cruise O?Brien Asserting that the dominant peoples of South Africa, Northern Ireland, and Israel have based their cultural identity on a belief in a covenant with an all-powerful God, Akenson vividly characterizes the effects of this conviction on each nation's history.
Main Description
Chosen as one of Library Journal's Best Books of 1992 "Superb scholarship and compelling writing."--Library Journal "Splendidly illuminating and enthrallingly readable."--Conor Cruise O'Brien Asserting that the dominant peoples of South Africa, Northern Ireland, and Israel have based their cultural identity on a belief in a covenant with an all-powerful God, Akenson vividly characterizes the effects of this conviction on each nation's history.
Table of Contents
Maps and Figures
Acknowledgments
The Adamantine Word
The Oldest Codep. 3
A Very Big Dealp. 13
Covenantal Cultures in the Making
The Afrikaners: A Culture in Exile, 1806-1948p. 45
The Covenantal Culture of the Ulster-Scots to 1920p. 97
Zionism and the Land of Israel to 1948p. 151
The Covenant and the State
Northern Ireland: A Protestant State for a Protestant People, 1920-1969p. 183
The High Noon of Apartheid, 1948-1969p. 203
Israel: A Singular State, 1948-1967p. 227
The Covenant in Recent Times
A Covenant Comes Apart: Ulster, 1969 to the Presentp. 263
A World Unhinged: Afrikaners and Apartheid, 1969 to the Presentp. 295
Israel, 1967 to the Present: Completing the Circlep. 311
Envoi
Conclusion: Living with God's Peoplesp. 349
Notesp. 359
Indexp. 395
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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