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📙 Evangelicals and Israel: The Story of American Christian Zionism by Stephen Spector — free epub


Review of: Evangelicals and Israel: the Story of American Christian Zionism I would like to recommend, in very strong terms, Evangelicals and Israel: the Story of American Christian Zionism. I have read with admiration this very instructive and carefully researched book. It is, to date, the best study of the topic and currently the best place for students and interested readers to learn about this highly complex and controversial topic in a balanced and dispassionate manner. In the last decade there has been a growing awareness of the special relationship that has developed between Israel and conservative evangelical Christians, but no one has, as yet, carried the kind of comprehensive and vigorous research that this book brings forward. Among other things, the author, Stephen Spector, has gone into the unprecedented trouble of interviewing a large number of religious and state leaders, in America and Israel, in order to determine the actual effect of evangelical opinions and influence on current state policies. Likewise, the published sources consulted in this book are the most comprehensive I have encountered in studies on this topic. Spector is not only a very diligent researcher, but also a very systematic and insightful writer. His book is beautifully structured, offering, in its first chapters, theological and historical background to the evangelical interest in the Jewish people and their enchantment with the idea of Jewish restoration in Palestine. Here too the author offers more than the standard explanations for the special relationship that many conservative evangelicals have developed towards Israel, and he points to many factors, including remorse. The book includes some particularly important and ground breaking observations, such as a discussion of the connection between evangelical-Jewish relations and evangelical opinions on the Arabs and Islam (chapters 4 and 5). The author points out that not all conservative evangelical Christians offer unilateral support to Israel, and mentions evangelical groups and moments of sympathy for the Palestinian plight. Perhaps the book's greatest accomplishment is its ability to present highly sensitive topics, both religious and political, in a nuanced, dispassionate and fair-minded manner. The book includes a chapter on the criticisms of Christian Zionism, in which it brings forward, among others, voices of Arab critics of evangelical support of Zionism and Israel. This is a particularly well written, well documented, well structured, highly insightful, and very lucid book. It makes for a good reading and offers an invaluable basis for understanding one of the most important developments in the relationship between religious sentiments and political opinions at the turn of the 21st century. I enthusiastically recommend it. Reviewer: Yaakov Ariel, Chapel Hill, NC

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