Over the last several decades, an astonishing phenomenon has developed: a Jewish rebirth of sorts occurring throughout Africa. Different ethnic groups proclaim that they are returning to long forgotten Jewish roots and African clans trace their lineage to the Lost Tribes of Israel. The Black Jews of Africa addresses the elaboration and the development of Jewish identities by Africans. Africans have encountered Jewish myths and traditions in multiple forms and under a number of situations. The context and circumstances of these encounters produced a series of influences that gradually led, within some African societies, to the elaboration of a new Jewish identity connected with that of the Diaspora. The book presents one by one the different groups of Black Jews from western central, eastern and southern Africa and the ways in which they have used and imagined their oral history and traditional customs to construct a distinct Jewish identity. The purpose of the book is to review the processes and immensely complex interactions which shaped these new religious identities.
It explores the way in which Africans have interacted with the ancient mythological sub-strata of both western and Africans idea of Jews in order to create a distinct Jewish identity. It particularly seeks to identify and to assess colonial influences and their internalization by African societies in the shaping of new African religious identities. Along with these notions the book examines how, in the absence of recorded African history, the eminently malleable accounts of Jewish lineage developed by African groups inspired by Judaism co-exist with the possible historical traces of a Jewish presence in Africa.
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(243mm x 165mm x 21mm)
Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
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Author Biography - Edith Bruder
Dr Edith Bruder is a Research Associate in School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and in French National Centre for Scientific Research.