The modern country of Israel was established in 1948 and is located on the same land once governed by an ancient nation named Israel. Reusing this name was a deliberate attempt to claim for the country the legacy of ancient Israel as the rightful reconstitution in Palestine of a long-absent people. Yet, does that mean when we read "Israel" in the Bible that we should automatically and rightly think of modern Israel as the continuation of that ancient people?
This study consists of two parts. The first session concentrates on how the term Israel is used in the Bible. The second session centers on the interpretation of the name Israel at the present point in history. The first is based on the Bible itself, while the second presents a dialogue between contemporary theology and politics. The first is thus much less controversial than the second, but both are integrally related. To move to the second too quickly is to risk serious misunderstanding.