No masters but God

Portraits of anarcho-Judaism

By Hayyim Rothman

No masters but God


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6721-7
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: February 2023
  • BIC Category: Judaism: Theology, Religion, Judaism, POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory, RELIGION / Judaism / Theology, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Anarchism, Society & social sciences / Political ideologies, Society & social sciences / Anarchism
  • Series: Contemporary Anarchist Studies


The forgotten legacy of religious Jewish anarchism, and the adventures and ideas of its key figures, finally comes to light in this book. Set in the decades surrounding both world wars, No masters but God identifies a loosely connected group of rabbis and traditionalist thinkers who explicitly appealed to anarchist ideas in articulating the meaning of the Torah, traditional practice, Jewish life and the mission of modern Jewry. Full of archival discoveries and first translations from Yiddish and Hebrew, it explores anarcho-Judaism in its variety through the works of Yaakov Meir Zalkind, Yitshak Nahman Steinberg, Yehudah Leyb Don-Yahiya, Avraham Yehudah Heyn, Natan Hofshi, Shmuel Alexandrov, Yehudah Ashlag and Aaron Shmuel Tamaret. With this ground-breaking account, Hayyim Rothman traces a complicated story about the modern entanglement of religion and anarchism, pacifism and Zionism, prophetic anti-authoritarianism and mystical antinomianism.


'The panoramic view of these thinkers over the course of the book's ten chapters is an especially important contribution for the English reader since it fills a noticeable gap in scholarship by offering first-ever English translations of Hebrew and Yiddish texts and lays the foundation for future research.'


1 An anarchist minyan
2 Historical and theological context
Part I: The activists
3 Yaakov Meir Zalkind (1875-1938)
4 Yitshak Nahman Steinberg (1888-1957)
Part II: The mystics
5 Shmuel Alexandrov (1865-1941)
6 Yehuda Ashlag (1885-1954)
Part III: The pacifists
7 Yehuda-Leyb Don-Yahiya (1869-1941)
8 Avraham Yehudah Heyn (1880-1957)
9 Natan Hofshi (1890-1980)
10 Aaron-Shmuel Tamaret (1869-1931)
Conclusion: Contemporary relevance


Hayyim Rothman is a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow at Bar Ilan University, Israel

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