Visiting Professor to Address Zionist Movement and Future of the Jewish State

March 23, 2015
Allan ArkushAllan Arkush courtesy photo.

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WACO, Texas (March 23, 2015) – The Jewish State: redemption or quagmire?

That is the question Allan Arkush, Ph.D., professor of Judaic Studies and History at the State University of New York at Binghamton, New York, will address in his lecture from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, in Draper Room 139.

In the words of philosopher Leo Strauss, the Zionist movement’s success in creating a Jewish state has been “a blessing for all Jews everywhere.”Arkush agrees that the return of the Jewish people to their homeland of Israel has been a saving grace in the way of dignity and freedom, but he adds that it is not without problems. Arkush’s lecture will address the condition of the Jewish State and what kind of future could be in store.

“What distinguishes Dr. Arkush’s work in Jewish Studies is the enormous learning that he brings to his subject, and the fact that he never wears this learning on his sleeve,” said Timothy Burns, Ph.D., professor of political science in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

“Listening to him is a bit like listening to the charming and wise stories of a great uncle, but one who has read widely and thought deeply and weighs all arguments before speaking. His reflections are in this respect the opposite of headline news. They result from an effort to understand in all of their depth and complexity the enormous problems, not just practical but theoretical, that confronted the rise of Zionism and continue to confront it,” Burns said.

Arkush will analyze the divisions among Jews in Israel today by examining the paths that their ancestors took in the past century in their search for redemption, both secular and religious.

Arkush will speak at a preliminary luncheon to graduate students titled “Exile or Diaspora?”, at which he will expound upon the idea of Diaspora, the permanent dispersion of Jews throughout various lands, in contrast to Exile, the estrangement of Jews from their homeland since the destruction of the second temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. Arkush will discuss the place of these two very different dispositions in the American Jewish community since the early 20th century.

Arkush is the author of “Moses Medelsohn and the Enlightenment” and of a multitude of essays on Jewish history and thought, some which have appeared in Polity, The Review of Politics, Modern Judaism, Jewish Social Studies, Israel Studies and other journals. Arkush studied at Cornell University, the Jewish Theological Seminary and Brandeis University. He taught at the University of Texas at Dallas before moving to teach at Binghamton University in 1987. He is currently the senior contributing editor of the “Jewish Review of Books,” where his book reviews regularly appear.

The lecture “The Jewish State: Redemption or Quagmire?” is free and open to the public.

Draper Academic Building is located at 1420 S. Seventh St. in Waco.

For more information, please contact Dr. Timothy Burns

by Sarah Czerwinski, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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