It is satisfying to find a scholarly treatment that brings clarity to thorny topics such as ethnicity and nationalism. Anyone who seeks to understand and communicate about these subjects in antiquity must navigate many nuanced discussions; often it seems advisable to steer clear of the terminology if possible, since there is simply no consensus. David Goodblatt provides a thorough, balanced, and convincing treatment around which perhaps a consensus can be built. In addition to the conceptual challenges undertaken, historical matters treated include the historical role of Hebrew in the construction of Jewish nationalism, as well as of the priesthood, followed by three chapters organized around names that played a role in the development of ancient Jewish nationalism: Israel, Judah, and Zionism. Bibliography and indexes.
Mark D. Nanos, Ph.D., University of Kansas, is the author of Mysteryof Romans, winner of the 1996 National Jewish Book Award, Charles H. RevsonAward in Jewish-Christian Relations.