God's Peoples: Covenant and Land in South Africa, Israel, and Ulster

Donald Harman Akenson, Author Cornell University Press $68.5 (404p) ISBN 978-0-8014-2755-8
In Akenson's unorthodox view, the ruling Afrikaners of South Africa, the Jews of modern Israel and the Protestant Ulster-Scots of Northern Ireland share a ``covenantal mindset.'' Inspired by the ancient Hebrews' covenant with their God Yahweh, he asserts, each of these three groups believes it is a Chosen People with a sacred claim to a promised land. Although the comparative history of the three groups is sometimes provocative, the extended historical analogy breaks down at many points and is rife with speculation and leaps of logic. Regarding the Jews' settlement of Israel and their confiscation of Arab lands as a ``collective act of colonization,'' Akenson rebukes Zionist settlers who viewed Palestinian Arabs as backward and not a genuine people. He suggests that the covenantal mindset is gradually dissolving in South Africa and Northern Ireland, but contends that the Israelis are hardening in their determination to fulfill their ancient covenant. Akenson is a professor of history at Queen's University in Canada. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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