The everyday geopolitics of Messianic Jews in Israel-Palestine

Daniel Webb

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis examines the geopolitical orientations of Messianic Jews in Jerusalem, Israel-Palestine, in order to shed light on the confluence and co constitution of religion and geopolitics. Messianic Jews are individuals who self identify as being ethnically Jewish, but who hold beliefs that are largely indistinguishable from Christianity. Using the prism of ‘everyday geopolitics’, I explore my informants’ encounters with, and experiences of, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the dominant geopolitical logics that underpin it. I analyse the myriad of everyday factors that were formative in the shaping of my informants’ geopolitical orientation towards the conflict, focusing chiefly on those that were mediated and embodied through religious practice and belief.
The material for the research was gathered in Jerusalem over the course of sixteen months – between September 2012 and January 2014 – largely through ethnographic research methods. Accordingly, I offer a lived alternative to existing work on geopolitics and religion; work that is dominated by overly cerebral and cognitivist views of religion. By contrast, I show how the urgencies of everyday life, as well as a number of religious practices, attune Messianic Jewish geopolitical orientations in dynamic, contingent, and contradictory ways. Taken together, I conclude that the imbrication of religion and geopolitics cannot be mapped in any simple or straightforward way.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Dodds, Klaus, Supervisor
  • Leschem, Noam, Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Feb 2016
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016

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