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Elliot Vernon

This chapter reassembles the history of the practice of church government in the Province of London between June 1646 and August 1660. It argues that the critical factor in understanding the history of the Province of London was not institutional, but rather personal. The true backbone of London presbyterian government was not institutional foundation or authority, but the collective dedication of the London presbyterian laity and clergy to the cause of further reformation. The chapter explores the election of ruling elders, the operation of the presbyterian classes and provincial assembly and attempts to instil presbyterian discipline.

in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64
Elliot Vernon

This chapter explores the radicalisation of London’s moderate puritans during the period 1637–40 in the wake of the crisis that erupted in the Churches of England and Scotland under the Laudian administration of the 1630s. It then turns to the godly ministers’ mobilisation of opposition to the Canons of 1640. This opposition revitalised the godly clergy as a political force and ushered in a somewhat cautious movement seeking further reformation of the polity of the Church of England.

in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64
Elliot Vernon

This chapter explores the London presbyterians and the politics of the restoration of the Stuart monarchy. It examines how they sought to negotiate the re-establishment of order in the English church out of the chaos of the immediate post-Cromwellian period. This ultimately led the presbyterians to make compromises that would be fatal to both presbyterianism and the reformation of English church order begun in 1640.

in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64
Elliot Vernon

The chapter provides a presbyterian reading of the ‘Smectymnuus’ tracts and situates these works in the alliance of godly clergy who were meeting at Edmund Calamy’s house in Aldermanbury. The chapter explores the pre-civil war puritan thought on church polity. It also analyses how this Aldermanbury group joined the parliamentarian mobilisation against Charles I’s administration in the spring and summer of 1641. Nevertheless, there was a lack of consensus on issues of religion and church polity and these issues were also circumscribed by what was politically possible in that year. The chapter looks at the attempts in spring and early summer 1641 to reach a consensual settlement of religion. When this failed, the summer debates over the so-called ‘Root and Branch’ bill saw various models for the national church being aired. These debates ultimately revealed deep tensions among those seeking to reform the Church of England. The chapter concludes by exploring the emerging divisions among the godly on the issue of the proper location of power in church government and how, in light of those divisions, the parliamentarian clergy closest to the opposition to Charles I’s administration struggled to maintain unity, if not consensus, in the fight against prelacy.

in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64
Hayyim Rothman

This chapter is devoted to the life and thought of perhaps the most theologically radical of all the figures considered in this study, R. Aaron Shmuel Tamaret. Like many of his peers here, R. Tamaret studied in elite rabbinic institutions but, despite more prestigious offers, took up a congregational post in a quiet village in Poland. The chapter begins with an examination of his typology of religious phenomena, in which he identifies paganism with de-individuation, distinguishing it from pure faith as the opposing tendency. It then proceeds to present his views on ultra-orthodoxy and Zionism as pagan regressions from pure faith undertaken in response to the supposed tragedy of exile; the one reducing man to God’s arbitrary will, the other reducing man to nationality, territory, and the state. Then, tracing his account of Jewish history from the period of Egyptian slavery through the rise of diaspora Judaism, the chapter demonstrates Tamaret’s understanding of Judaism as realized in the diaspora experience. Namely as a civilization organized around a divinely inspired ethical system organically developed within the popular institution of the beys midrash. Finally, it shows that Jewish chosenness, the Jewish mission to humanity on his interpretation of it, entails spreading precisely this idea by living example. In other words, it is argued that Tamaret’s work is a shining example of theologically grounded anarcho-diasporism.

in No masters but God
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Hayyim Rothman

This chapter frames the intersection of anarchism and Jewish tradition by appeal to a literary anecdote. Then, the conflict between religious and anti-religious trends in anarchist thought is addressed. This conflict is then brought into the Jewish fold and an overview of the state of research on the topic of Jewish radicalism generally and Jewish anarchism in particular is provided. The aim of this review is to explain how the present volume intervenes by putting in question the supposed dichotomy between Jewish radicalism or anarchism and Jewish traditionalism. The issue of canon and canonization is then discussed; the purpose of this book being both to expand the anarchist canon and to begin the process of creating a canon of World War I. The limits of this provisional canon as it exists in this book are then addressed: these include gender, geography, and culture. The degree to which the figures discussed in this book can be described as a ‘group’ is then considered. Finally, an overview of the remainder of the book is provided.

in No masters but God
Hayyim Rothman

This chapter discusses the nexus of Tolstoyan anarcho-pacifism and Jewish tradition in the life and thought of Rabbi Avraham Yehudah Heyn, an orthodox rabbi of prestigious Habad hasidic lineage, who served several communities throughout Europe and in Palestine/Israel. Responding to the infamous Beilis trails, in which the ancient blood libel was revived in Russia, he promoted a hermeneutic of resistance, interpreting Jewish tradition as the foil of the state and of state-sanctioned violence — indeed, all violence. This chapter considers five themes. First, the notion that the essence of Judaism consists in a conviction as to the absolute sanctity of human life. Second, the implications this has for a pacifist vision for human society reminiscent of Tolstoy's but articulated in a distinctively Jewish manner. Third, the way that the idea of human sanctity grounds both Heyn’s socialism and his anarchism, including his approach to building a libertarian Jewish society cognizant of and authentically bound to but not bound by tradition. Fourth, his vision for a morally sound revolution of the heart. Finally, his complex and in some ways contradictory reflections on Zionism.

in No masters but God
Abstract only
Contemporary relevance
Hayyim Rothman

This chapter reviews major themes covered in the discussion of Anarcho-Judaism as embodied in the figures studied throughout this volume. These include: Jewish collective identity, the mission of Israel, the question of organization (geographical, institutional, legal, and economic), and the place of violence in effecting large-scale change. After this review, proposals re offered as to contemporary relevance of anarcho-Jewish perspectives. This begins with a discussion of distinctions between utopia and ideology on the one hand, and classical utopianism and critical utopianism on the other. I argue that World War I can be interpreted as a critical-utopian discourse. I then put this claim to use in suggesting ways that values and concerns that appear in the articulation of World War I can inform responses to the contemporary crisis of Zionism.

in No masters but God
Hayyim Rothman

This chapter begins by situating the development of World War I chronologically and geographically: the nineteenth century in the Russian Pale of Settlement. It is argued that antisemitic persecution disappointed hopes for Jewish integration into European society such that former Enlightenment assimilationists returned to the Jewish fold. This is said to have influenced both the rise of Jewish nationalism and Jewish anarchism, both of which intersected in the Hibbat Zion movement as centered in the Valozyn Yeshiva (seminary). Narodnik influence is discussed at length and used to compare World War I to the Bund on the one hand and to ultra-orthodox isolationism on the other. The theological background of World War I is then examined on five fronts: the idea of man as made in the image of God; the mandate to neighborly love; the legal and moral status of the ancient Hebrew monarchy; the prophetic tradition as a voice of justice; and messianic traditions involving the eventual abrogation of Jewish law.

in No masters but God
Hayyim Rothman

This chapter discusses the nexus of Tolstoyan anarcho-pacifism and Jewish tradition in the life and thought of Natan Hofshi. Raised in a Polish shtetl, where his pious family owned and ran a small farm, Hofshi entered Zionist circles at an early age and eventually joined the prestigious Second Aliyah to Palestine. Working as a farm-laborer and activist in ha-Poel ha-Zair under the tutelage of A. D. Gordon, Hofshi absorbed Tolstoyan ideals of manual labor, simplicity of living, and especially pacifism. He helped to establish Brit Shalom — a movement seeking to ensure peaceful coexistence by renunciation of the Zionist aim of creating a Jewish state — and also the Palestinian (and later Israeli) branch of the War Resisters' International. This chapter first addresses the personal experiences that led Hofshi to his pacifism. It then examines his notion of ‘religious feeling,’ which he defines as a sense of human sanctity and fraternity. The chapter then discusses the way that this grounds his pacifism and his special critique of Jewish militarism. It proceeds to consider his reflections on the Palestinian nakba and its implications for Judaism and Zionism, which led him to reject Zionist statism and to promote a return to the agrarian anarcho-socialism of the early Zionist pioneers.

in No masters but God