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The Black Jews of AfricaHistory, Religion, Identity$
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Edith Bruder

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195333565

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195333565.001.0001

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 The Lost Tribes of Israel

 The Lost Tribes of Israel

(p.11) 1 The Lost Tribes of Israel
The Black Jews of Africa

Edith Bruder

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the prehistory of African Judaism, focusing on the lost tribes of Israel. According to the Bible, the tribes of the kingdom of Israel's northern part were exiled in the 8th century BC, at which time they disappeared from the stage of history. Over time, a belief based on the Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel prophecies took hold of the Jewish imagination, whereby the idea developed and survived: one day the Ten Tribes would be reunited, and this event would prefigure the messianic era. For more than 2,000 years, Jews, Christians, and Muslims attached fundamental importance to the fate of these tribes and speculated on their exile and return. Theologians and exegetes, ancient and modern historians and geographers, ethnographers and missionaries of varied beliefs, and more recently geneticists contributed — through constructions, deconstructions, and imbrications — to the edification of the colossal and shifting knowledge of the Ten Tribes.

Keywords:   Ten Tribes, Bible, Africans, Judaism, Israel

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