THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIAN ZIONISM

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THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIAN ZIONISM

Lord Shaftesbury And Evangelical Support For A Jewish Homeland

In this study of Lord Shaftesbury – Victorian England’s greatest humanitarian and most prominent Christian Zionist – Donald M. Lewis examines why British evangelicals became fascinated with the Jews and how they promoted a ‘teaching of esteem” that countered a “teaching of contempt.” Evangelicals militated for the restoration of Jews to Palestine by lobbying the British cabinet on foreign policy decisions. Professing their love for the Jews, they effectively reshaped the image of the Jew in conversionist literature, gave sacrificially to convert them to Christianity, and worked with German Pietists to create a joint Anglican-Lutheran bishopric in Jerusalem, the center (in their minds) of world Jewry. Evangelical identity evolved during this process and had an impact on Jewish identity, transforming Jewish-Christian relations. It also changed the course of world history by creating a climate of opinion in the United Kingdom in favor of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which pledged British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The movement also bequeathed a fascination with Christian Zionism to American evangelicals that still influences global politics.

CONTENTS

​Introduction

Part I. The Rise of British Evangelical Interest in the Jews:

1. The restoration of the Jews in Protestant thought

2. Pietism, Clapham, and the Jews

3. Evangelicalism, prophecy and the Jews


Part II. 'Shaftesbury and the Jews' 

4. Shaftesbury the new recruit 

5. 'Christian Europe' in the House of Islam: political, cultural and religious factors leading to European interest in the Middle East in the first half of the nineteenth century 

6. Shaftesbury's attitude to the Jews and to Palestine 

7. Protecting 'God's ancient people' and preparing for their restoration 


Part III. Evangelicals and Pietists Together: The Mission to Jews and Palestine

8. British Evangelical and German Pietist missions in Palestine in the 1820s 

9. A British consul in Jerusalem 

10. An Anglican church in Jerusalem for the 'unwelcome intruders in the Home of Islam' 

11. The Jerusalem Bishopric 

12. Prussia's turn: the Episcopate of Samuel Gobat 


Part IV. Shaftesbury's Final Years 

13. Toward the Balfour Declaration.

WHAT OTHER SCHOLARS ARE SAYING ...

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Shalom Goldman 

Associate Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature

Emory University

"Lewis's book is a very important contribution to the study of British Christian Zionism. One suspects that it will remain the authoritative text on that subject for many years to come."

Ralph Brown

Professor of History at The University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM)

in

The Journal of Ecclesiastical History

"In this new study, Donald Lewis traces the development of deep-rooted religious impulses behind Christian Zionism in nineteenth-century Britain and its influence upon missionary work, political and diplomatic activity. Lewis focuses upon the life and career of Anthony Ashley Cooper, the seventh earl of Shaftesbury (1801–85), to demonstrate how an intense interest in mission to Jews and their restoration to Palestine became an important feature of the developing identity of Protestant Evangelicalism during the 1830s and 1840s ... The book is also rich in contextual detail on the political and diplomatic complexities involved in the activities of Britain and the other European powers in Palestine. Lewis convincingly demonstrates how the campaigns to establish a British consul, to build an Anglican Church in Jerusalem and inaugurate a joint Anglican-Lutheran bishopric in 1841 drew British interests into the Holy Land politically and diplomatically at a time when Ottoman power was weakening and the strategic importance of the area was becoming increasingly recognised."

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FULL LENGTH REVIEWS OF THE BOOK

1.   Brown, Ralph. “The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury and Evangelical Support for a Jewish Homeland.” The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 62, no. 2 (April 2011): 416–416.

2.   Gros, Jeffrey. “The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury and Evangelical Support for a Jewish Homeland.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 47, no. 1 (2012): 138–39.

"This volume is an important contribution to the understanding of the complex relationship between the variety of Judaisms and British evangelicals in recent history, as well as the influence of these personalities and ideas on the events of that day.  The volume is full of ironies and is an important corrective to the received narratives in a variety of Christian, Jewish, Arab-Muslim and Christian, and secular retellings of the story."  

3.   Sandmel, David F. “The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury and Evangelical Support for a Jewish Homeland.” Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 6, no. 1 (2011).

 

"Readers of this journal will be intrigued but ultimately disappointed by Lewis' provocative suggestion regarding 'A Teaching of Esteem.'  ....  [Lewis] has, at the very least, raised important questions that demand further investigation. In sum, The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury and the Evangelicals Support for a Jewish Homeland is an important contribution to the study of Christian Zionism and Jewish-Christian relations."

 

4.   Wilkes, George R. “The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury and Evangelical Support for a Jewish Homeland.” The Expository Times 122, no. 8 (May 2011): 408–9.

"This extremely rich treatment of the development of Evangelical support for the restoration of the Jewish people is an important addition to the literature. .... Lewis convincingly shows that [the Evangelicals'] impact on the origins of twentieth-century Christian Zionism deserves to be understood better, both because of the influence of their very particular context on longer-term developments in global Christianity, and because of the subsequent changes in the nature of Christian support for a Jewish state can thereby be cast in greater relief than the literature on the subject has allowed so far."   

 

5.   Wolffe, John. “The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury and Evangelical Support for a Jewish Homeland.” Ecclesiology 12, no. 3 (2016): 390–91.

"This book makes intriguing linkages between fields of study more usually seen as distinct from each other - nineteenth-century British evangelicalism, the situation of the Jews and Christian attitudes towards them, and British policy towards Palestine in the declining decades of the Ottoman Empire. ... Lewis has elucidated a fascinating set of connections and in so doing shows how many assumptions need to be re-examined even if others remain to be tested."

6.   Abigail Green, “The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury and Evangelical Support for a Jewish Homeland.” English Historical Review 126, 520: 724-25.

"To those familiar with this field, the initial premise of Donald Lewis's definite study of nineteenth-century Christian Zionism is by no means startling. .... Brilliantly integrating these concerns into the broad master-narrative of nineteenth-century British Evangelicalism, Lewis succeeds in breaking new ground.... unlike his predecessors, Lewis comes to the material as a Church historian working at an explicitly Christian educational institution. These different academic sensibilities matter. Primarily preoccupied with British Christians rather than Jewish history, Lewis is much better placed to argue the importance of the currents he has chosen to study. His firm grasp of theology is particularly telling. Certain aspects of this tradition (such as its affinity with a resurgent anti-Catholicism) emerge clearly for the first time, and relate interestingly to the political alliances between British Jews, humanitarians and Evangelicals explored in my own work."

     Second, this book is exemplary for the way in which it highlights the personal connections and intellectual networks which underpinned nineteenth-century Evangelical ideas about Palestine and the Jews .... Third, Lewis’s account serves to update much of the older literature, reflecting the current historical preoccupation with religion as one of the key motor forces in nineteenth-century British politics and society. .... In short, Lewis may not be the first to address these issues, but his account of nineteenth-century British Christian Zionism is the best we are likely to get."

7.  Shalom Goldman, “The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury and Evangelical Support for a Jewish Homeland.”  H-Judaic (August 2010)

https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=29314

"In the last decade, there has been a spate of books about Christian Zionism in the United States ....  These works on American Christian Zionism all acknowledge the movement's British background, but up to now there has been no one authoritative source on that subject to turn to.  Lewis's new book provides us with it."   

"Lewis's book is a very important contribution to the study of Christian Zionism.  One suspects that it will remain the authoritative text on that subject for many years to come."