1st Edition

Expressivist Religious Zionism Modernity and the Sacred in a Nationalist Movement

By Shlomo Fischer Copyright 2025
    312 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents a new approach to the study of Religious Zionism. In counter-distinction to the prevalent fundamentalist approach, it argues that mainstream of Religious Zionism is a romantic religious nationalist movement in which the modern idea of self-expression and related notions, such as the free and authentic self and the overcoming of alienation form its philosophical core.

    By showing how such notions are combined with conservative and un-modern cultural and political goals (such as the restoration of a messianic kingdom) it provides a profoundly complex, and nuanced account both of pervasiveness of modern notions in contemporary culture and of the modern aspects of conservative and even extremist religious and nationalist groups. By uncovering the process of the sacralization of the nation, the state, the national destiny and territory it contributes to our understanding of religious nationalism globally. It also shows how the violence and extremism perpetrated by Religious Zionism elements is not some atavistic holdover from the past but is in fact rooted in the drive to self-actualization and constitutes modernist violence.

    This book will appeal to researchers and students of Jewish studies, Israel and the Middle East. Its intended audience also includes researchers on religious nationalism, and contemporary religious and national movements.

    1 Expressivist Religious Zionism: An Introduction 2 The Origins of Expressivism in the Religious Zionist Community: National Identity and the Torah Regime 3 R. Kook’s Religious Philosophy as Expressivist Thought 4 The Institutionalization of Expressivist Religious Zionism 5 The General Will and the Divine State 6 Illegalism and Loyalty to the State from Sebastia to the Disengagement 7 The Individualist Turn: Personal Religion and the Religious Meaning of Literature, Art, and Sex 8 Neo-Hasidism, Apocalyptic Radicalism, and the Recognition of the Other 9 The Political Sphere: The Judicial Reform and the Iron Swords War 10 Concluding Reflections


    Shlomo Fischer taught in the School of Education of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem until his retirement.  He is now a Senior Fellow, Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), Jerusalem, Israel. Area Head, Sociology and Jewish Identity. He has published extensively on the intersection of religion, politics, and social class in Israel.