by Samuel Goldman
University of Pennsylvania Press, 248 pp., $34.95
"It was the faith of the Jewish people that gathered the scattered fragments of a people and made them whole again; that took the language of the Bible and the landscape of the Psalms and made them live again.” As the Jerusalem Post noted, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence took this and similar statements out of the books of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and inserted them (in collaboration with Rabbi Sacks) into his impressive speech to the Knesset in January. If Pence had given this address a bit sooner, some of his own words would almost certainly have made their way into Samuel Goldman’s new book, for the evangelical Christian vice president’s affirmation of the Jews’ return to the Land of Israel perfectly illustrates the phenomenon Goldman describes and underscores its continuing importance.
God’s Country: Christian Zionism in America draws on several earlier studies to assist “readers who want to learn more about Christian Zionism but have little background in theology, history, or political theory—let alone all of these fields.” Yet, as a political scientist, Goldman has a broader theoretical point to make as well: to provide an example of the contemporary persistence of political theology—“a way of thinking about the order and purpose of politics oriented by God’s will.”