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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Discovering Jews in Southern Africa: a critical approach to the comparative method
Author:Alston, Booker T.ISNI
Periodical:Journal for the Study of Religion
Geographic terms:South Africa
research methods
Abstract:This article addresses the usefulness of the comparative method for the study of Jews in southern Africa. It compares two case studies specific to southern Africa, namely the Zulu and the Lemba, to the ancient Israelite practice of Judaism. The first section focuses on the colonial discovery of the 'Jews of Natal' and discusses the myths, rituals and symbols that led missionaries, government agents and even Zulu individuals to reach the comparative conclusion that the Zulu must have originated from ancient Israel. The second section brings to light the curious case of the Lemba of Zimbabwe and South Africa, who are currently claiming a Jewish origin. The next sections discuss the implications of the comparative dynamics of power relations, politics, economics, tradition, identity and space that these case studies have hinted at. The concluding remarks focus on the inherent problems of the comparative method itself in an attempt to determine its effectiveness. Bibliogr., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]