Muscular Judaism

The Jewish Body and the Politics of Regeneration

By Todd Samuel Presner

© 2007 – Routledge

280 pages | 38 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415593403
pub: 2010-06-21
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415771788
pub: 2007-04-26
US Dollars$168.00

About the Book

Providing valuable insights into an element of European nationalism and modernist culture, this book explores the development of the 'Zionist body' as opposed to the traditional stereotype of the physically weak, intellectual Jew. It charts the cultural and intellectual history showing how the 'Muscle Jew' developed as a political symbol of national regeneration.


'This is a seminal book. It is a book that any one interested in European thought from the 1860s to the Holocaust and the founding of the state of Israel must read. It is a book of depth and breadth; one that reflects the inordinate strength of a discipline about how to flex its muscles without embarrassment.' - Sander L. Gilman, Emory University

'Presner's Muscular Judaism is evidence of excellent scholarship. His book is an outcome of a serious, illuminating, and original dissertation project that successfully integrates its insights into a well-established field of research and contributes to an ongoing critical discussion on the origins and implications of the Zionist discourse. The book is very well written, its arguments are clear and convincing. Presner's use of theory is useful but not exaggerated, and his historiographical methods are very productive' - Journal of Israeli History, September 2008

Table of Contents

Introduction 1.The Origins of Muscular Judaism 2. The Rhetoric of Regeneration: "Clear Heads, Solid Stomachs, and Hard Muscles" 3. The Aesthetics of Regeneration: Martin Buber, E.M. Lilien, and the Aesthetic State 4. The Gymnastics of Regeneration: The Anatomo-Politics of the Jewish Body 5. The Land of Regeneration: Seafaring Jews and the Zionist Colonial Imaginary 6. Soldiers of Regeneration: The Military Might of Old-New Maccabees and the Great War.Concluding Remarks

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 / Europe / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Jewish Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies