Religion and Violence in the Jewish Traditions

Ron E. Hassner and Gideon Aran

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199759996
Published online March 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Religion and Violence in the Jewish Traditions

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This chapter reports the traditional violent themes in religious Judaism as they seem in sacred texts, rites, customs, and chronicles, and provides a survey of the components of Jewish religion relating to violence while evaluating and illustrating their development and influence through history. It then describes the violent implications of two religious elements that are distinct and central in the Jewish legacy: Mysticism and Messianism. The case of Jewish violence is especially complicated, since Judaism is characterized by a close relationship and a substantial overlap between religious association and ethno-nationalist ties. The essence of Judaism became the interpretation and application of the Bible to historical realities. The Kabbalah presents historical reality as a mirror and integral component of a larger cosmic drama. A distinct minority of Jews use their own victimhood as a license to inflict violence upon others by way of compensation or revenge.

Keywords: religious Judaism; Jewish religion; Jewish violence; Mysticism; Messianism; Kabbalah; Bible; victimhood

Article.  10479 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Judaism and Jewish Studies

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