The Black Jews of Africa History, Religion, Identity

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This book presents, one by one, the different groups of Black Jews in 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. It explores the ways in which Africans have interacted with the ancient mythological sub-strata of both western and African ideas of Judaism.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Black Jews of Africa is an excellent introduction to a complex and controversial subject about African Jews and the Ten Lost Tribes. Dr. Bruder rightly leaves to others the thorny question of Jewish identity. Instead, using a wide range of bibliography that covers the field, she concentrates on describing the beliefs, customs, and history of the various African peoples and communities that claim Jewish identity. I recommend it highly to those interested in understanding modern Jewish history and society worldwide." —Ephraim Isaac, Director of the Institute of Semitic Studies, Princeton

"This ambitious and passionate work explores the fascination that Jewish history and identity have held for the people of Africa. A welcome and challenging addition to the discourse on the lost tribes of Israel, it should be read by anyone interested in Jewish history, African history, and the sociology of religion." —Emanuela Trevisan Semi, Associate Professor, Ca' Foscari University, Italy, and author of Jacques Faitlovitch and the Jews of Ethiopia

"Going far beyond the familiar literature on the Falasha, Bruder's book makes a real contribution to understanding the nature of African Judaism and, much more important, how this phenomenon has been regarded in the West. The book presents a major case study in the social construction of religious identities." —Philip Jenkins, author of God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

"Edith Bruder's study of Black African Jews deserves critical acclaim for focusing on a topic in African history that has been woefully neglected as a primary topic of discourse. Until now, few scholars have delved into the study of Jews within the larger context of Africa's past. ...[T]he book should be recognized in the historiography as the work that permanently widened Africa's historical lens." —African Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199934553
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/9/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 298
  • Sales rank: 785,565
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Edith Bruder is a Research Associate in the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and in the French National Center for Scientific Research.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Lost Tribes in Twenty-first-Century Africa 3

Part I Prehistory

1 The Lost Tribes of Israel 11

2 Jewish Accounts and Christian Traditions 19

3 The Mythography of Africa 25

4 The Legend of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba 29

Part II Black Judaism: Genesis

5 Blacks and Jews the Archetypal "Others," 37

6 Encountering and Reinventing the Africans and the Jews in the Colonial Era, Fifteenth to Nineteenth Centuries 51

7 Appropriating Jewish History by the African Diaspora, Nineteenth to Twentieth Centuries 73

Part III Africa, Judaism, and African "Jews"

8 Historical Narratives of a Jewish Presence in Sub-Saharan Africa 97

9 African Jews in Western and Central Africa 133

10 African Jews in Eastern and Southern Africa 161

Epilogue: Ancient Myths and Modern Phenomena 187

Notes 195

Bibliography 255

Index 277

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