New PDF release: Apocalyptic messianism and contemporary Jewish-American

By R. Barbara Gitenstein

ISBN-10: 0887061559

ISBN-13: 9780887061554

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Extra info for Apocalyptic messianism and contemporary Jewish-American poetry

Example text

This conversion will usher in the utopianism of the Messianic Age, a time of the ingathering of the exiles, and the resurrection of the dead (sometimes through the services of Messiah, but usually through the power of God alone). " This episode in the history of the Jewish Messiah allowed any period of special stress for the Jewish people to become the foundation for a new spate of apocalyptic speculation. The Messiah, according to Jewish legend, is eternal; he existed prior to creation, but he must wait until his appointed time to reappear on earth.

God gives him savior qualities which are in keeping with human powers as invested in specially blessed individuals. As representative of the people Israel, the Jewish Messiah functions as Every Jew. Dividing Messiah into two characters (the Messiah ben Joseph who will lead the forces of righteousness in the final conflict that precedes the judgment and the end of time, the conflict during which he will be killed, and the Messiah ben David, the offspring of the house of David, who will rule during the Messianic Age) provides the people with a military Page 22 and a spiritual leader.

This genre is especially apt for a contemporary Jewish literature Page 15 because the apocalyptic is a genre associated with the exile and because it is associated with times of great upheaval and distress of the Jewish people. Post-Holocaust American literature by Jews is surely a literature of the exile and indicates (in the last twenty years) an awareness of the horrors of the Holocaust. Furthermore, the literature of the more rationalized manifestations of messianism which flourished during the nineteenth century (for example, Zionism, Reform Judaism, and Socialism) are devoid of the literary devices of the apocalypse, and contemporary Jewish-American poetry is quite consciously literary.

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Apocalyptic messianism and contemporary Jewish-American poetry by R. Barbara Gitenstein


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