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The Gift of the Land and the Fate of the Canaanites in Jewish Thought$
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Katell Berthelot, Joseph E. David, and Marc Hirshman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199959808

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199959808.001.0001

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The Land of Israel and Canaan

The Land of Israel and Canaan

A Case Study of the Spiritual World of Gur Hasidism

Chapter:
(p.202) 8 The Land of Israel and Canaan
Source:
The Gift of the Land and the Fate of the Canaanites in Jewish Thought
Author(s):

Yoram Jacobson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199959808.003.0009

This chapter analyzes the Sefat Emet, a late nineteenth-century work that shaped the theology of Gur Hasidism. It identifies the two territorial belongings—the land of Canaan and the land of Israel—as representing two spiritual phases in the process of the redemption of reality. Inspired by the Zoharic Kabbalah and the thought of Maharal of Prague, the Canaan-Israel juxtaposition comes to represent the theosophical dichotomies of natural/supernatural, impure/sanctified, unified/diverse, and so on. The conquest of the land of Canaan was not an actual aggressive act, but rather an act by which the natural, impure, and fragmented conditions of reality were redeemed to become a supernatural, sanctified, and united order. This spiritualized interpretation not only escapes ethical and theological difficulties, but also redefines the relationship between Canaan and Israel as one of reciprocal cooperation within the divine plan and the cosmic order.

Keywords:   Sefat Emet, theology, Canaan, Israel, redemption

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