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Picture of African Zion

African Zion

Studies in Black Judaism

Editor(s): Edith Bruder and Tudor Parfitt

Book Description

Over the last hundred years, in Africa and the United States, through a variety of religious encounters, some black African societies adopted – or perhaps rediscovered – a Judaic religious identity. African Zion grows out of a joined interest in these diversified encounters with Judaism, their common substrata and divergences, their exogenous or endogenous characteristics, the entry or re-entry of these people into the contemporary world as Jews and the necessity of reshaping the standard accounts of their collective experience.

In various loci the bonds with Judaism of black Jews were often forged in the harshest circumstances and grew out of experiences of slavery, exile, colonial subjugation, political ethnic conflicts and apartheid. For the African peoples who identify as Jews and with other Jews, identification with biblical Israel assumes symbolical significance.

This book presents the way in which the religious identification of African American Jews and African black Jews – “real”, ideal or imaginary – has been represented, conceptualized and reconfigured over the last century or so. These essays grow out of a concern to understand Black encounters with Judaism, Jews and putative Hebrew/Israelite origins and are intended to illuminate their developments in the medley of race, ethnicity, and religion of the African and African American religious experience. They reflect the geographical and historic mosaic of black Judaism, permeated as it is with different “meanings”, both contemporary and historical.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-3802-3
ISBN-10: 1-4438-3802-0
Date of Publication: 01/06/2012
Pages / Size: 325 / A5
Price: £44.99


Edith Bruder is a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, and at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). She is the President and founder of the International Society for the Study of African Jewry (ISSAJ) and the author of The Black Jews of Africa (Oxford University Press, 2008).

Tudor Parfitt is President Navon Professor of Sephardi and Mizrahi Studies and Research Professor in the School of International and Political Affairs at Florida International University, and Emeritus Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at SOAS. He is the author of Black Jews in Africa and the Americas (Harvard University Press, 2012).