War and Peace in Jewish Tradition: From the Biblical World to the Present, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

War and Peace in Jewish Tradition

From the Biblical World to the Present, 1st Edition

Edited by Yigal Levin, Amnon Shapira


322 pages

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The transition between the reality of war and a hope for peace has accompanied the Jewish people since biblical times. However, the ways in which both concepts are understood have changed many times over the ages, and both have different implications for an independent nation in its own land than they do for a community of exiles living as a minority in foreign countries.

This book explores the concepts of war and peace throughout the history of Judaism. Combining three branches of learning - classical Jewish sources, from the Bible to modern times; related academic disciplines of Jewish studies, humanities, social and political sciences; and public discussion of these issues on political, military, ideological and moral levels - contributors from Israel and the USA open new vistas of investigation for the future as well as an awareness of the past. Chapters touch on personal and collective morality in warfare, survival though a long and often violent history, and creation of some of the world’s great cultural assets, in literature, philosophy and religion, as well as in the fields of community life and social autonomy.

An important addition to the current literature on Jewish thought and philosophy, this book will be of considerable interest to scholars working in the areas of Jewish Studies, theology, modern politics, the Middle East and biblical studies.

Table of Contents

Part I: The Ancient World - War and Peace in the Bible and in Rabbinic Literature 1. The Freeing of Captives in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible David Elgavish 2. "Set Bread and Water before Them" (2 Kings 6:22): Elisha’s Order to Treat his Enemies with Mercy and its Implications Amihai Nachshon 3. Civil War in the Bible – An Unsolved Problem Amnon Shapira 4. The Wars of Joshua – Weaning Away from the Divine Yigal Levin 5. "He Teaches My Hands to War": The Semiotics of Ritual Hand Gestures in Ancient Israelite Warfare David Calabro 6. "Human, All Too Human" – Royal Name-Making in Wartime Jacob L. Wright 7. Wars between the Jews in Antiquity Meir Bar-Ilan 8. War and Aesthetics in Jewish Law Joseph Isaac Lifshitz 9. The Morality of War in Rabbinic Literature: The Call for Peace and the Limitation of the Siege Yishai Kiel 10. The Law of Obligatory War and Israeli Reality Kalman Neuman Part II: The Modern World – War and Peace in Jewish Thought and Practice 11. "A Victory of the Slavs Means a Deathblow to Democracy": The Onset of World War I and the Images of the Warring Sides among Jewish Immigrants in New York, 1914-1915 Gil Ribak 12. Moral Considerations relating to Criticism of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: Rabbinic Literature and the "Just War" Theory Isaac Hershkowitz 13. Ben Gurion and War Yossi Goldstein 14. The Journey After – Of One who Saw the Horrors of War: A Study of Orpaz's Daniel's Trials. Ziva Feldman 15. Peace, Secularism and Religion Avinoam Rosenak 16. Images of Technological and Moral Ambiguity: The New York Times’ Coverage of the Gaza War, Dec. 27, 2008 to Jan. 19, 2009 Carol Lea Clark 17. War, Religion and Israel’s Foreign Press Corps Yoel Cohen 18. Media Ethics in Times of War Yuval Cherlow

About the Editors

Yigal Levin is a senior lecturer at the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Department of Jewish History at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and at the Department of Israel’s Heritage at the Ariel University Center of Samaria, Israel.

Amnon Shapira is a senior lecturer at the Department of Israel’s Heritage at the Ariel University Center of Samaria, Israel, and a past member of the Department of Bible at Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

About the Series

Routledge Jewish Studies Series

Studies, which are interpreted to cover the disciplines of history, sociology, anthropology, culture, politics, philosophy, theology, religion, as they relate to Jewish affairs. The remit includes texts which have as their primary focus issues, ideas, personalities and events of relevance to Jews, Jewish life and the concepts which have characterised Jewish culture both in the past and today. The series is interested in receiving appropriate scripts or proposals.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Middle East / Israel
RELIGION / Judaism / History
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies