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Chosen PeopleThe Rise of American Black Israelite Religions$
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Jacob S. Dorman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195301403

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195301403.001.0001

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“We Are Israelites but Not Jews”

“We Are Israelites but Not Jews”

Orientalism and Israelism in the Holiness-Pentecostal Movement

Chapter:
(p.81) 3 “We Are Israelites but Not Jews”
Source:
Chosen People
Author(s):

Dorman Jacob S.

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195301403.003.0004

This chapter proposes three major revisions in the narratives that both practitioners and scholars have told about the origins of Black Jews and Judaism. First, rather than narratives of the Israelites being transmitted with enslaved Africans, who were themselves descendants of the ancient Hebrews, it demonstrates that Crowdy's church introduced Black Israelite theologies to Africa at the start of the twentieth century. Second, Holiness churches of every racial group adopted Hebraic rituals such as the Passover seder, foot washing, and the seventh day Sabbath, not to recreate Judaism but rather to emulate the early Christian church—that is, to be more like Jesus and his Apostles. Third, whereas various scholars and practitioners have explained the rise of the Pentecostal movement as an American interpretation of essentially African patterns of spirit possession, it is argued that the Pentecostal movement itself was inspired by an Anglo-Israelite attempt to recreate the early Christian church on the part of such figures as Frank Sandford in Shiloh, Maine, and Charles Parham in Topeka, Kansas.

Keywords:   Black Jews, Judaism, Black Israelites, Holiness churches, Pentecostal movement, Christian church

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