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The Origins of Christian Zionism

Donald M. Lewis
The Origins of Christian Zionism
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Cambridge University Press

Lord Shaftesbury and Evangelical Support for a Jewish Homeland   --    In this study of Lord Shaftesbury -- Victorian England's  greatest humanitarian and most prominent Christian Zionist -- Donald M. Lewis examines why British evangelicals became fascinated with the Jews and how they promoted a 'teaching of esteem' that countered a 'teaching of contempt.' Evangelicals militated for the restoration of Jews to Palestine by lobbying the British cabinet on foreign policy decisions. Professing their love for the Jews, they effectively reshaped the image of the Jew in conversionist literature, gave sacrificially to convert them to Christianity, and worked with German Pietists to create a joint Anglican-Lutheran bishopric in Jerusalem, the center (in their minds) of world Jewry. Evangelical identity evolved during this process and had an impact on Jewish identity, transforming Jewish-Christian relations. It also changed the course of world history by creating a climate of opinion in the United Kingdom in favor of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which pledged British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The movement also bequeathed a fascination with Christian Zionism to American evangelicals that still influences global politics.