Jacob & Esau today
the end of a two millennia paradigm?
The paradigm of Jacob & Esau, which portrayed Jewish-Christian relations for two-millennia, has collapsed in the aftermath of the Holocaust and the foundation of the State of Israel. Portrayals of Jacob & Esau have changed radically in both European and Israeli cultures. The two have moved in both parallel and opposite directions. Europeans have embraced the traditional Jewish Jacob and declared him European, indeed a model for European culture. Israeli writers, in contrast, have distanced themselves from the Jewish Jacob, whether rabbinic or Zionist, and converted him into a universal type, a lover and a mourner. Esau has been largely absent in non-Jewish discourse but has enjoyed rehabilitation among both Zionists and post-Zionists, most notably, among the Jewish Settlers. The new Jacob & Esau part with the traditional Jewish and Christian typologies. They mark an unprecedented age in Jewish history, and a new period in Jewish-Christian relations.
Hacohen, M. (2017)., Jacob & Esau today: the end of a two millennia paradigm?, in N. Bar Am & S. Gattei (eds.), Encouraging openness, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 167-190.
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