“We Are Israelites but Not Jews”

Dorman Jacob S.

in Chosen People

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780195301403
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979035 | DOI:
“We Are Israelites but Not Jews”

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This chapter proposes three major revisions in the narratives that both practitioners and scholars have told about the origins of Black Jews and Judaism. First, rather than narratives of the Israelites being transmitted with enslaved Africans, who were themselves descendants of the ancient Hebrews, it demonstrates that Crowdy's church introduced Black Israelite theologies to Africa at the start of the twentieth century. Second, Holiness churches of every racial group adopted Hebraic rituals such as the Passover seder, foot washing, and the seventh day Sabbath, not to recreate Judaism but rather to emulate the early Christian church—that is, to be more like Jesus and his Apostles. Third, whereas various scholars and practitioners have explained the rise of the Pentecostal movement as an American interpretation of essentially African patterns of spirit possession, it is argued that the Pentecostal movement itself was inspired by an Anglo-Israelite attempt to recreate the early Christian church on the part of such figures as Frank Sandford in Shiloh, Maine, and Charles Parham in Topeka, Kansas.

Keywords: Black Jews; Judaism; Black Israelites; Holiness churches; Pentecostal movement; Christian church

Chapter.  12829 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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