There is no shortage of books looking at the history, problems, and prospects of the modern state of Israel. I try to keep an eye on developments and, like many, find it simply overwhelming. Narrowing a bibliography simply to religious books on this topic is likewise daunting. Occasionally I delight in meeting someone inside the Christian world who doesn't have an opinion on Israel, the Palestinians, and the Bible. Among conservative evangelicals, someone like this is a rare find.
This means that there is fertile ground here for professional historians to chart the recent history of Judaism in Europe, the development of the modern state of Israel, and how Western Christians have interacted with these developments. One of the best recent attempts has been Tim Weber's intriguing On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel's Best Friend (2005). Here Weber focuses on the evangelical camp that he knows well, showing how theology, particularly eschatology, has influenced how evangelicals look at Israel. To trace that theme, one simply has to follow authors such as Don Wagner (Anxious for Armageddon: A Call to Partnership for Middle Eastern and Western Christians, 1995), Victoria Clark (Allies for Armageddon: The Rise of Christian Zionism, 2007), and Stephen Sizer (Zion's Christian Soldiers?: The Bible, Israel and the Church, 2008).
Caitlin Carenen is a professor of history at Eastern Connecticut State University, and her book, The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel (NYU Press), has all the markings of a Ph.D. dissertation completed at Emory University in 2008. However, it has been revised and rewritten to make it both thorough and highly readable.
Carenen's contribution tells the usual ...1