Special Issue "Black Israelite Religions: Chosen Peoples of African Descent"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (8 July 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Jacob S. Dorman
Guest Editor
Department of History and Core Humanities Program, University of Nevada, Reno, 1664 N Virginia St, Reno, NV 89557, USA
Interests: African American alternative religions, including Black Israelites, Black Muslims, and Rastafarians; Gilded Age and Progressive Era United States cultural history; American Islamic Orientalism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you will consider submitting to this special issue on Black Israelite religions, considered broadly to encompass any religion anywhere in the world that believes that the ancient Israelites were Black and that contemporary Black people are their descendants. Examples include not only Black Jews or Hebrew Israelites, but also Black Muslims, Rastafarians, and many Christians, especially Holiness and Pentecostal congregations. This special issue is looking especially for work that considers Israelite religions not in isolation but in dialogue with each other as well as other religions, in addition to work that explodes the container of “religion” and looks at Israelitism outside of organizational labels or even devotional communities. We are also looking for work that places Israelism within strong social, historical, and materialist frameworks, examining the idea’s texts as well as its contexts. Topics might include:

  • Israelism in reggae or hip hop music.
  • Gender and Israelism.
  • Israelism in Black Muslim religions, past and present.
  • Israelism in African and African American Christianity, including Holiness/Pentecostalism.
  • Interracial influences within Israelite movements.
  • Rastafarian history, contemporary theology, and cultural innovation.
  • Jews vs. Israelites vs. Hebrew Israelites: what’s in a name?
  • Contemporary Israelite movements.
  • Anglo-Israelism.
  • White Rastafarians and other non-Black followers of Black Israelite movements.
  • Relations between Black Israelites and Jews of European descent.
  • Black Israelites and the Black Power Movement.
  • The Hebrew Israelites of Dimona and other Israelite Emigrations.
  • William Lauron DeLaurence’s books and other esoteric sources of Israelism.
  • Israelism in Africa.

This special issue will collect cutting-edge research on understudied groups and create new understandings of the few groups that have received extensive scholarly attention. It aspires to also make methodological and theoretical innovations that have the potential to interest scholars far outside the realm of Israelite and related religions. The goal is to knit together topics often studied in isolation, creating a dynamic study of religious identities while breaking down sectarian boundaries and demonstrating change over time.

Prof. Dr. Jacob S. Dorman
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 Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). 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.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Yah’s Exemplary Soldiers: African Hebrew Israelites in the Israel Defense Forces
Religions 2019, 10(11), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110614 - 06 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
This article considers the process of identity formation among soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who were born into the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem (AHIJ), more commonly known as the Black Hebrews. The AHIJ are a sect of African Americans who [...] Read more.
This article considers the process of identity formation among soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who were born into the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem (AHIJ), more commonly known as the Black Hebrews. The AHIJ are a sect of African Americans who began settling in Israel in 1969 and who identify as direct descendants of the Biblical Israelites. Due to the group’s insular nature, the IDF is the primary state institution in which they fully participate, and their mandatory service is a source of both pride and consternation for community members and leaders. Considering the personal experiences of 14 African Hebrew soldiers who enlisted between 2009 and 2010, the article argues that while the soldiers by and large maintain their distinctive identity during the course of their service, they also internalize some of the language, attitudes, and cultural touchstones of the majority Israeli Jewish population. As a result, they experience a kind of “double consciousness”, the feeling of dislocation first described by the African American scholar W. E. B. Du Bois at the turn of the twentieth century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Black Israelite Religions: Chosen Peoples of African Descent)
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