Dissenter in Zion: From the Writings of Judah L. Magnes

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For nearly half a century, until his death in October 1948, Judah Magnes occupied a singular place in Jewish public life. Dissenter in Zion draws upon a rich corpus of private letters, personal journals, and diaries to offer a moving account of an eloquent and sensitive person grappling with the great questions of the day and of an activist striving to translate private moral feelings into public deeds through politics and diplomacy.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Judah L. Magnes was the Jewish maverick personified, the perpetual dissenter from conventional wisdom and establishment politics. Though he was all his life a leader in the Jewish community, he nevertheless always remained the outsider, the critical voice, the political conscience, the moral castigator. More often than not the causes he espoused--in the Jewish community as in the larger society--went down to defeat, to end up in the dust bin of history.

Professor Arthur A. Goren has now rescued Magnes from oblivion, dusted him off, and brought him and his causes once again into the light. This splendid collection of Magnes's writings restores him as he was, always at the center of history in times thick with history. Magnes's mind and eloquence were equal to the great themes which he engaged and the great controversies he argued: war and peace, Zionism and Jewish nationalism, religion and the nature of Jewish identity, social idealism and politics.

It is a striking testimony to Magnes's depth of intellect and breadth of interest that his writings speak to us today with relevance and even urgency. A stimulating thinker in his time, he speaks to us also in our time. The great and still pressing issues of Jewish communal and political existence are alive in these pages. Magnes himself comes alive in Goren's vivid portrait of the man and his world."

Judah L. Magnes was a striking combination of an American with a turn-of-the-century highmindedness, East European Jewish passion, and a devotion to pacifism. He was a Zionist who demanded equal justice for Jews and Arabs. His was a unique career in both America and Palestine. In this book, a lonely giant is remembered.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674212831
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1982
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 6.59 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur A. Goren is Professor of American Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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Table of Contents


Editor's Note


Introduction: The Road to Jerusalem

1. Rebel Rabbi: Judaism, Zionism, and American Life 1900-1910

2. Community Builder and Mediator 1911-1916

3. Dissenter: Pacifist and Radical 1917-1922

4. Jerusalem: Chancellor of the Hebrew University 1922-1935

5. The Pursuit of Compromise: Arabs And Jews 1935-1939

6. War and the Politics of Dissent 1940-1947

7. A Mission of Peace 1948

The Documents and Their Sources

Glossary of Names

Selected Works

Judah L. Magnes



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