Holy war in Judaism : the fall and rise of a controversial idea


Holy war in Judaism : the fall and rise of a controversial idea

Reuven Firestone

Oxford University Press, c2012

大学図書館所蔵 件 / 2



Bibliography: p. 327-346

Includes index



Holy War in Judaism is the first book to consider how the concept of "holy war" disappeared from Jewish thought for almost 2000 years, only to reemerge with renewed vigor in modern times. Holy war, sanctioned or even commanded by God, is a common and recurring theme in the Hebrew Bible, but Rabbinic Judaism largely avoided discussion of holy war in the Talmud and related literatures for the simple reason that it became extremely dangerous and self-destructive. The revival of the holy war idea occurred with the rise of Zionism, and as the need for organized Jewish engagement in military actions developed, Orthodox Jews faced a dilemma. There was great need for all to engage in combat for the survival of the infant state of Israel, but the Talmudic rabbis had virtually eliminated divine authorization for Jews to fight in Jewish armies. The first stage of the revival was sanction for Jews to fight in defense. The next stage emerged with the establishment of the state and allowed Orthodox Jews to enlist even when the community was not engaged in a war of survival. Once the notion of divinely sanctioned warring was revived, it became available to Jews who considered that the historical context justified more aggressive forms of warring. Among some Jews, divinely authorized war became associated not only with defense but also with a renewed kibbush or conquest, a term that became central to the discourse regarding war and peace and the lands conquered by the state of Israel in 1967. By the early 1980's, the rhetoric of holy war had entered the general political discourse of modern Israel. In this book Reuven Firestone identifies, analyzes, and explains the historical, conceptual, and intellectual processes that revived holy war ideas in modern Judaism. The book serves as a case study of the way in which one ancient religious concept, once deemed irrelevant or even dangerous, was successfully revived in order to fill a pressing contemporary need. It also helps to clarify the current political and religious situation in relation to war and peace in Israel and the Middle East.


  • Foreword
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • Part One: The Ancient Jewish World: Holy War in Practice
  • Chapter 1: Holy War in the Bible
  • Chapter 2: Jewish Holy War in Practice: Early Success
  • Chapter 3: Holy War Fails
  • Part Two: The World of the Rabbis: Holy War Interrupted
  • Chapter 4: Rabbinic Responses to War's Failure
  • Chapter 5: Rabbinic Typology of War
  • Chapter 6: Who is the Enemy?
  • Chapter 7: Maimonides' Counting of the Commandments
  • Chapter 8: Nahmanides' Critique, and Other Thinkers
  • Part Three: The Emergence of Jewish Modernity: Holy War on Hold
  • Chapter 9: The Crisis of Modernity and Jewish Responses
  • Chapter 10: From Practicality to a New Messianism
  • Chapter 11: The New Jew
  • Chapter 12: From Holocaust to Holy War: Israel's War of Independence
  • Part Four: The Jewish State: Holy War Revived
  • Chapter 13: 1948 to 1967: From Defensive War to Preemptive War
  • Chapter 14: 1967 to 1973: The Miracle of Conquest and the Test of Yom Kippur
  • Chapter 15: The 1980s: Holy War and its Excesses
  • Conclusion: The Resurrection of Holy War
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index

「Nielsen BookData」 より