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
Introduction Part 1: War and Peace in the Bible 1. The Freeing of Captives in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible 2. "Set Bread and Water before Them" (2 Kings 6:22): Elisha’s Order to Treat the Enemy with Mercy and its Implications 3. The Wars of Joshua: Weaning Away from the Divine 4. "He Teaches My Hands to War": The Semiotics of Ritual Hand Gestures in Ancient Israelite Warfare 5. "Human, All Too Human": Royal Name-Making in Wartime 6. Civil War in the Bible: An Unsolved Problem 7. Internecine Wars in Biblical Israel Part 2: Theoretical Aspects of War in Rabbinic Thought 8. War and Aesthetics in Jewish Law 9. The Morality of War in Rabbinic Literature: The Call for Peace and the Limitation of the Siege 10. Peace, Secularism and Religion 11. Moral Considerations Relating to Criticism of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: Rabbinic Literature and the Just War Theory 12. The Law of Obligatory War and Israeli Reality Part 3: War and Peace in Jewish Thought and Practice 13. "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 14. Ben Gurion and the Onset of War 15. The Journey After: Of One who Saw the Horrors of War: A Study of Orpaz's The Voyage of Daniel Part 4: Israel, War, Ethics and the Media 16. War, Religion and Israel’s Foreign Press Corps 17. The New York Times’ Coverage of the Gaza War: An Apologia 18. Media Ethics in Times of War
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.