Jesus the Samaritan: Ethnic Labeling in the Gospel of John, Stewart Penwell examines how ethnic labels function in the Gospel of John. After a review of the discourse history between “the Jews” and “the Samaritans,” the dual ethnic labeling in John 4:9 and 8:48 are examined and, in each instance, members from “the Jews” and “the Samaritans” label Jesus as a member of each other’s group for deviating from what were deemed acceptable practices as a member of “the Jews.” The intra-textual links between John 4 and 8 reveal that the function of Jesus’s dual ethnic labeling is to establish a new pattern of practices and categories for the “children of God” (1:12; 11:52) who are a trans-ethnic group united in fictive kinship and embedded within the Judean ethnic group’s culture and traditions.
Israel Celebrates is about the intersection where Israeli inventiveness and Jewish tradition meet: the holidays. It employs the anthropological history of four Jewish holidays as celebrated in Israel in order to track the naturalization of Jewish rituals, myths, and symbols in Israeli culture throughout “the long twentieth century” of Zionism and on to the present, and to demonstrate how a new strand of Judaism developed in Israel from the grassroots. But could this grassroots Israeli culture develop into a shared symbolic space for both Jews and Arabs? By probing the political implications of the minutiae of life, the book argues that this popular culture might come to define Jewish identity in Israel of the 21st century.