R EVIEWS EDITED BY ANDREW BURSTEIN AND NANCY ISENBERG American Zion: The Old Testament as a Political Text from the Revolution to the Civil War. By Eran Shalev. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013. Pp. 239. Cloth, $40.00.) Reviewed by Alexis McCrossen In the index of Bernard Bailyn's classic The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge, MA, 1967) appear many references to Rome, a couple to Greece, and none to the Old or New Testament. Since then, numerous historians--not the least of whom is Eran Shalev, author of Rome Reborn on Western Shores: Historical Imagination and the Creation of the American Republic (Charlottesville, VA, 2009)--have investigated how familiarity with ancient history and the classics informed American political and artistic culture. Shalev's recent book, American Zion, departs from Bailyn's model by revealing how profoundly the Old Testament influenced political debate and reflection in the United States between the Revolution and the 1830s. It shows how the Hebrew Bible was the source of images, stories, and tropes that resonated with Americans as they fashioned an understanding of themselves as a ``chosen people'' and of their nation as a ``new Israel.'' Drawing on Hebraic political studies, which investigates the
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Nov 18, 2013
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