Chapter

A New Jew, a New Jesus

Neta Stahl

in Other and Brother

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199760008
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979561 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199760008.003.0001
A New Jew, a New Jesus

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During the first half of the twentieth century, Zionist writers adopted the figure of Jesus not as part of an external and apologetic discourse or as a mediator between Judaism and Christianity, but rather in the context of the new national identity, as a model for the desired New Jew. In the Hebrew literature of the first half of the twentieth century, the figure of Jesus embodies an internal Jewish attempt to redefine Jewish selfhood by reclaiming Jesus for Jewish nationalism and the Zionist project. Zionist writers present Jesus as an ideal type of Jew, one that could serve as a model for the new Jewish national identity, and as an integral and even necessary part of the project of Zionist pioneering and national redemption. This chapter explains why the figure of Jesus was so appealing to these writers, and what literary tools they relied on in their attempts to embrace Jesus as a lost brother, a pioneer, a symbol of a collective suffering and even a real messiah, while still perceiving him as the menacing God of Christianity.

Keywords: Zionism; Joseph Klausner; Aharon Avraham Kabak; Natan Bistritsky; Hazzaz; Chayim; Moshe Leyb Halpern; Avigdor Ha-me'iri; Abraham Shlonsky; the other; exile

Chapter.  16729 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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