Special Issue "Between Ideal and the Other: Jewish Identity and Election in Midrash and Post-Biblical Literature"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 July 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Steven Daniel Sacks

Associate Professor of Religion, Cornell College, 600 First Street SW, Mount Vernon, IA 52314, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Midrash, Rabbinic Literature, Jewish Identity, Jewish Theology, Magic, Hekhalot Literature, Second Temple Literature, Biblical Interpretation, Kabbalah, Angelology

Special Issue Information

In rabbinic writings, the doctrine of election is essential to the distinction between Jews and their Other, and thus at the heart of Jewish identity. According to contemporary academic conceptions of Biblical theology and halakhic ordinance, rabbinic literature idealistically “constructed” an image of Jewish theological and ethnic exclusivity to counter and/or shape the ambiguities found in reality. Thus, according to this view, historically, “Jewishness was not a function of objective or empirical criteria,”[1] but an ideal offered by the sages to draw boundaries between Jews and their neighbors. Nevertheless, when seen through the lens of election the idealistic divisions of the rabbis between Jews and their Others are not simply binary nor asymmetrical as such a constructivist view would imply. For example, the competition for election in heaven and on earth between the nation and Edom and the ministering angels are, in rabbinical literature, as characterized by mimesis as they are by alterity; Jews and their other are simultaneously “conflictive and contradictory, but pregnant with an almost intimate immediacy,”[2] and often portrayed in such a way that one may both contest and replace the other as their duplicate. This issue of Religions will explore how rabbinic literature symbol, myth and Scriptural interpretation navigate the relationship of election to identity, and address the boundaries and limitations of ideal identities in rabbinic Judaism.

Dear Colleagues,

The articles of this volume should address the questions delineated in the above summary by focusing on the symbolic, mythological and exegetical development of election in rabbinic and related post-Biblical literatures, with an eye towards the utility of election in the formation of the Jewish self. To this purpose, contributors will submit targeted studies of particular traditions, texts, images or artifacts responding to the larger issues at play in this volume, and representing a variety of voices. Contributions are invited that feature close readings of midrash and related post-Biblical literatures responding to such questions as: What is the relationship between identity and election in rabbinic mythmaking? Does election represent a new identity for the Jewish people, or does it not? What is the role and purpose of the Jewish people’s rivals in heaven and on earth for Jewish identity and election? Why does rabbinic literature recurrently introduce primordial or angelic versions of Israel in accounts of the patriarchs, creation and the angelic realm, and how do these relate to earthly Israel? What is the relationship between the elect “Israel” and the “Jew”?

Prof. Dr. Steven Daniel Sacks
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 550 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Rabbinic Literature
  • Second Temple Literature
  • Islamic Literature
  • Israel
  • Jaco
  • Edom
  • Angelology

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
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