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.
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing