Series Editor Preface
As a religion, Christianity has exhibited a psychological complex in its relationship to its parent religion: Judaism. Whether in the form of a religious anti-Judaism or a racial anti-Semitism, it has reached boiling points during the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Pogroms but culminated in the Final Solution of the Holocaust. Since World War II, with the founding of the modern State of Israel, there has been dramatic shift in a philosemitic direction—particularly by the Roman Catholic Church and many Protestant groups. Perhaps nothing better exemplifies this than the Christian Zionism in the United States. Sean Durbin’s Righteous Gentiles is a critical ethnographic study of John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel. Through his analysis of Christian Zionists’ rhetoric, Durbin demonstrates how their mythological discourse constructs a Christian identity that places hawkish support for Israel at its center, and reframes political activities as acts of religious devotion. What he reveals is that evangelical support and admiration for Jews and the State of Israel is in many respects premised on advancing Christian truth claims. The Netanyahu government’s embrace of this support, which was instrumental in achieving the move of the American Embassy to Jerusalem, should serve as a warning sign about the precarious alliance between the Christian and Jewish right-wings.
Warren S. Goldstein, Ph.D.
Center for Critical Research on Religion