This article sets out to retrieve a concept of diaspora – deeply rooted in Jewish tradition but somewhat eclipsed in the Jewish imagination today – in which dispersion is understood as exile and return is deferred to ‘the end of days’. The argument is developed via a conversation between David Grossman and Amos Oz in 2003, in which Grossman reflects on the question ‘Are we a people of place or of time?’ Pursuing this question leads to a passage in Isaiah in which the prophetic author refers to Zion as Beulah. Beulah is Zion under the aspect of hope, Zion as the prospect of redemption, the end of exile in the here and now.
Brian Klug is Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy, St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University. His latest book is Words of Fire: Selected Essays of Ahad Ha’am (2015).