America and Zion: Essays and Papers in Memory of Moshe Davis
Moshe Davis was a preeminent scholar of contemporary Jewish history and the rounding head of the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A recognized leader in the field of bicultural American/Jewish studies, he was a mentor to educators and academics in both Israel and North America and an active colleague of American Christian scholars involved in interfaith study and dialogue. These wide-ranging essays, many of them presented at a colloquium that Professor Davis had planned but did not live to attend, honor him by exploring the theme of Zion as an integral part of American spiritual history and as a site of interfaith discourse. Not only do these essays stress the role of individuals in history, but they also incorporate views outside those of mainstream religions.
American attitudes toward the land of the Bible reflect both Jewish values that arose from their abiding attachment to Zion and the uniquely American Christian vision of a utopian pre-industrial, pre-urban, pre-secularized world. Whereas American Christians expected to be lifted out of their ordinary lives when they visited the Holy Land, Jews saw in their affinity for Zion a strong link to their American environment. Jews viewed America's biblical heritage as a source of practical values such as fair play and equality, social vision and political covenant. In inviting such comparisons, these essays illuminate the relationship of Judaism to America and the richness of American religious experience overall.
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