Thursday, July 15, 2010

Christian Zionism and Its Origins

This article is from the following book:

The Historical Origins of Christian Zionism

Dr. Stephen R. Sizer

Excerpt From: Chapter 2

The idea of a Jewish national Restoration to Palestine had resurfaced in Western European culture at a politically most opportune time. During the course of the 19th Century, a Jewish presence in Palestine, apart from its previous religious-prophetical, benevolent or philo-Semitic connotations, now came to be a political issue for the secular European powers that aspired to overseas expansion and empires. Religious and philanthropic ideas were now skilfully combined with the hard-headed Realpolitik of acquiring or strengthening spheres of influence in the Near East... Secular authorities, as well as religious ones, were now toying with Zionist ideas for their potential usefulness... Palestine suddenly found itself within the orbit of European power politics and under the contending influences of all the major powers: France, Britain and Russia... Britain's interest in the Near East, and of course Palestine, had been stirred by the Napoleonic expedition of 1799. The area's strategic importance to the British Empire had already been fully recognized. The vital necessity of preventing French control over the area had not only resulted in the battles of the Nile and Acre, but also spawned a British military expedition eastwards. Soon Britain's main concern was to hold back Russia by maintaining Turkish sovereignty at all costs. - Regina Sharif

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