“Again you will plant vineyards”: Prophecy, Jewish settlement, and temporal dissonance in the occupied West Bank

Ian McGonigle


Studies of prophecy in the context of Judaism have predominantly attended to how messianic sects react when prophecies fail to be fulfilled; they have drawn on the concept of cognitive dissonance to explain how such setbacks tend to bolster rather than weaken belief. Less attention has been paid to how subjects react to and live with the perceived fulfillment of prophecy. This article describes religious Jewish winemakers in West Bank settlements whose phenomenal experience of meta-historical time in the temporal frame of ge’ula, redemption, displaces the precarity and uncertainty of the contemporary settlement projects, renders the moral and political stakes of the occupation less disturbing, and fosters hope for a prosperous future. The temporal consequences of lived prophecy for the settlers can be understood as “temporal dissonance,” characterizing the disjuncture between the harsh reality of the political present and the prophesied idyllic future.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/723678