Sturm and Frantzman, “Religious Geopolitics of Palestinian Christianity”

Sturm, Tristan and Seth Frantzman.  2014. Religious Geopolitics of Palestinian Christianity: Palestinian Christian Zionists, Palestinian Liberation Theologists, and American Missions to Palestine.  Middle Eastern Studies.  Early online publication.

Abstract: The introduction of Protestantism into the Middle East by American missionaries in the nineteenth century met with limited success while the responses and internalizations of local converts proved incredibly diverse. The two resultant theological descendants are Palestinian Christian Zionists and Palestinian Liberation Theologists. The article provides a short history of these two movements and highlights influential voices through interviews and media analysis. This article argues that hybrid religious identifications with nation and place has transcended, in some cases, political struggle for territory.

Gunner and Smith, eds. ‘Comprehending Christian Zionism’

Gunner, Goran and Robert O. Smith, eds. 2014. Comprehending Christian Zionism: Perspectives in Comparison. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. 

Publisher’s Description: The issue of Christian Zionism is one that is fiercely debated within theology, the church, politics, and society. Comprehending Christian Zionism brings together an international consortium of scholars and researchers to reflect on the network of issues and topics surrounding this critical subject. The volume provides a lens on the history of Zionism within Christian theology and offers a constructive, multidimensional path for assessment and introspection around the meaning of Zionism to Christian faith and practice.

Contents:

1. Christian Zionism in Contemporary Perspective—Göran Gunner
2. Saying ‘Peace’ When There is No Peace—Elizabeth Phillips
3. “A fool for Christ”—Aron Engberg
4. Broadcasting Jesus’ Return—Matt Westbrook
5. Walking in the Mantle of Esther: “Political” Action as “Religious” Practice—Sean Durbin
6. Christian Zionism at Jerusalem Church in Copán Ruinas, Honduras, an “Out-of-the-Way” Place—William Girard
7. Christian Zionist Pilgrimage in the Twenty-First Century—Curtis Hutt
8. Living in the Hour of Restoration—Faydra L. Shapiro
9. Christian Zionism and Main Line Western Christian Churches—Rosemary Radford Ruether
10. Palestinian Christian Reflections on Christian Zionism—Mitri Raheb
11. From the Institutum Judaicum to the International Christian Embassy—Yaakov Ariel
12. Mischief Making in Palestine—Mae Elise Cannon
13. Israelis, Israelites, and God’s Hand in History—Timo R. Stewart
14. The Rise of Hitler, Zion, and the Tribulation—Gershon Greenberg
15. Inverting the Eagle to Embrace the Star of David—George Faithful
16. Conclusion—Robert O. Smith

Durbin, “‘I will bless those who bless you'”

Durbin, Sean.  2013.  “I will bless those who bless you:” Christian Zionism, Fetishism, and Unleashing the Blessings of God.  Journal of Contemporary Religion 28(3): 507-521.

Abstract: This article focuses on the concept of ‘blessing’ Israel that has become common among contemporary American Christian Zionists. After introducing a theological scheme that has dominated discussions of contemporary Christian Zionism, the article critically examines one of the emerging narratives concerning the (re)discovery of Christian Zionists’ Jewish roots and the way the Jewish contribution to Christianity is framed. Following this, the article considers the way Israel and Jews are understood to hold a distinct place in the network of world redemption and how contemporary Israel acts as a marker—what is referred to as a ‘signifier of stability’—that helps Christian Zionists locate God’s ongoing work in the world. Finally, the article discusses how Christian Zionists ‘bless’ Israel in practical ways as a form of submission to God, a reminder of their relationship with God, and a way to locate themselves in the redemptive process.

Shapiro, ‘Thank you Israel, for supporting America’

Shapiro, Faydra L.  ‘Thank you Israel, for supporting America’: the transnational flow of Christian Zionist resources.  Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.

Abstract: This article seeks to understand what it means when, in 2006, a noted British pastor and Bible teacher stood up in front of 8000 evangelical Zionists from all over the world at the convention centre in Jerusalem and addressed the audience with the following counter-intuitive words: ‘Thank you Israel, for supporting America!’ Evangelical Christianity has complex relations and ambivalent relations to the nation state and globalisation. Supernaturally speaking, Israel is the only nation state in the world that matters. Contemporary Israel becomes a kind of litmus test, both for manifesting the truth of the word of God and for manifesting the individual’s or the nation’s commitment to realising God’s will in this world. For Christian Zionism, this transnational flow of resources into and out of Israel ultimately redeem locality, offering ‘the nations’ a place in the story, and the opportunity to serve as vehicles for God’s will.

Durbin, “For Such a Time as This”

Durbin, Sean. 2012. “For Such a Time as This”: Reading (and Becoming) Esther with Christians United for Israel.

Abstract: A great deal of work on contemporary Christian Zionism focuses on the apocalyptic eschatology of premillennial dispensationalism, critiquing it from an idealistic perspective that posits a direct line of causality from “belief” to action. Such critiques frequently assert that since Christian Zionists are biblical literalists, they read apocalyptic texts such as Revelation and Ezekiel with the goal of making the events they find predicted in these books come about in the world. This article takes a different approach. Although many Christian Zionists can be considered “literalists,” they read themselves into the text typologically. Special attention is paid to the book of Esther which is shown not to function primarily in a prophetic or apocalyptic role, but as a tool to help Christian Zionists understand political action, construct identity, and strengthen faith.

Shapiro, “The Messiah and Rabbi Jesus: Policing the Jewish–Christian border in Christian Zionism”

Abstract: For all their ostensible difference and separateness, Judaism and Christianity have a long history of mutual engagement and profound entanglement. I take Daniel Boyarin’s assertion that ‘…the borders between Christianity and Judaism are as constructed and imposed, as artificial and political as any of the borders of the earth’ (2004, 1) as my starting point. But what Boyarin sees as an ongoing process of differentiation between Judaism and Christianity and distinct identity-building in late antiquity, I look for still today in Christian Zionism. The busy border crossing continues to separate people and ideas at the same time as it serves as the meeting place between them, the uncomfortable place where Judaism and Christianity rub up against each other. This paper examines some constructions of the Jewish–Christian border by way of two case studies of prominent religious leaders, each firmly at home in their respective communities, Jewish and Christian, who ventured out to the borderland of Christian Zionism. This is the story of what happened when they returned home to find themselves examined by those who monitor the Jewish–Christian border, and deemed to be over the limit with intoxicants brought over from the ‘other side’.