Apocalyptic Messianism and Contemporary Jewish-American Poetry

By R. Barbara Gitenstein

Subjects: Jewish Studies
Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture
Paperback : 9780887061554, 128 pages, June 1986
Hardcover : 9780887061547, 128 pages, June 1986

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Table of contents


1. Definitions and Historical Contexts

2. Apocalyptic Historiography and the Messianic Hopeful

3. Allegory and the Messianic Story

4. The Messianic Ontology




Focusing on the rich context of esoteric Jerish literature, this collection presents in-depth analyses of Jewish-American poetry. Gitenstein defines Jewish messianism and the literary genre of the apocalyptic, describes historical movements and kabbalistic theories, and analyzes their influence as part of the post-Holocaust consciousness. Represented are works by such poets as Irving Feldman, Jack Hirschman, John Hollander, David Meltzer, and Jerome Rothenberg.

Gitenstein recounts the lives of such spectacular eccentrics and holy men as the Abraham Abulafia (thirteenth century), Isaac Luria (sixteenth century), Shabbatai Zevi (seventeenth century), and Jacob Frank (eighteenth century) and identifies their theories as part of the history of the literary apocalyptic genreā€”the literature of exile, the literature of catastrophe.

R. Barbara Gitenstein is Associate Professor of English and chairs the Department of English, State University of New York at Oswego.