Modern Middle Eastern Jewish Thought
Writings on Identity, Politics, and Culture, 1893–1958
Edited by Moshe Behar and Zvi Ben-Dor Benite
This volume opens the canon of modern Jewish thought to the all too often overlooked writings of Jews from the Arab East, from the close of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. Whether they identified as Sephardim, Mizrahim, anticolonialists, or Zionists, these thinkers engaged the challenges and transformations of Middle Eastern Jewry in this decisive period.
Moshe Behar and Zvi Ben-Dor Benite present Jewish culture and politics situated within overlapping Arabic, Islamic, and colonial contexts. The authors invite the reader to reconsider contemporary evocations of Levantine, Mizrahi, and Arab Jewish identities against the backdrop of writings by earlier Middle Eastern Jewish intellectuals who critically assessed or contested the implications of Western presence and Western Jewish presence in the Middle East; religion and secularization; and the rise of nationalism, communism, and Zionism, as well as the State of Israel.
“Moshe Behar and Zvi Ben-Dor Benite have done a great service to scholarship by bringing together sources that reflect the robust discourse among Jewish intellectuals of Middle Eastern origin. They are to be heartily commended for this important act of historical reclamation.” —David N. Myers, UCLA
“Pathbreaking and compelling, Modern Middle Eastern Jewish Thought is a sorely needed intervention in Jewish intellectual history. This book should be taught widely in college courses on Jewish and Middle Eastern history.” —Lital Levy, Princeton University
“For complex political, historical, cultural, and linguistic reasons, the sources gathered in this book are virtually unknown. The editors must be commended for their meticulous presentation and the spirit in which this essential labor has been undertaken. This landmark collection opens the floodgates to new research in many fields.” —Ammiel Alcalay, author of After Jews and Arabs
“One of the most significant contributions to the study of the transformations of identities among the vibrant communities of Middle Eastern Jewry”—Reuven Snir, University of Haifa
MOSHE BEHAR is Pears Senior Lecturer in Israeli and Middle Eastern Studies at University of Manchester. ZVI BEN-DOR BENITE is professor of history and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at New York University.
This book can be purchased directly through the University Press of New England.