Jewish Cultural Nationalism: Origins and influences by David Aberbach

By David Aberbach

Jewish Cultural Nationalism explores the advance of Jewish nationalism from the Bible to trendy instances, targeting specific events and areas in addition to texts which signified, or themselves led to, switch: the Bible (Hebrew prayer book), and the trendy Hebrew literature, quite in Tsarist Russia. whereas the effect of the Hebrew Bible by myself on nationalism in person classes has been topic to a lot scholarly research, the current paintings is rare in its emphasis at the continuity of Jewish cultural nationalism and its impacts via Hebrew texts.

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Extra resources for Jewish Cultural Nationalism: Origins and influences (Routledge Jewish Studies Series)

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This age of imperial collapse and failed recovery in Muslim Spain was marked by two distinct periods: (1) civil war among the splinter-kingdoms; (2) Berber invasions from North Africa. ), of whom Gabirol is acknowledged as the greater. 1055–after 1135) and Judah Halevi. With Halevi, post-biblical Hebrew poetry reached its artistic peak prior to modern times. The poetry of Hanagid and Gabirol is set against the fall of the Cordoba caliphate, while the poetry of Ibn Ezra and Halevi has for its background the Berber invasions of 1090 and 1140.

The forced split between political and cultural nationalism was a major factor in Jewish survival. These combined elements of cultural nationalism were a unique mutation in the ancient world: a defeated people refusing to die but, instead, building and taking strength from a religious–national heritage; the split between political and cultural nationalism; the sense of uniqueness and chosenness nourished by defeat; the defence of this historical community, its ideals and dignity, expressed in a readiness to fight against the odds and die, if necessary, for ideals.

Defeat converted an untolerated Jewish militant messianism, challenging the empire, into a tolerated cultural nationalism. It drove the Jews into their own Hebrew cultural identity, forcing unity, distinctiveness and a form of divorce from the imperial system. Jewish cultural nationalism after 70 CE had its chief impetus in the reconstitution of Judaism around the synagogue. This meant sermons by rabbis and imaginative development of aggadic as well as halakhic thought. While the Mishnah was the most lasting achievement of the Tannaim, tannaitic midrash set a similarly high standard of excellence in its originality, insight and stylistic felicity which later midrash rarely equalled.

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