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A People between Languages

Toward a Jewish History of Concepts

Guy Miron

The field of modern European Jewish history, as I hope to show, can be of great interest to those who deal with conceptual history in other contexts, just as much as the conceptual historical project may enrich the study of Jewish history. This article illuminates the transformation of the Jewish languages in Eastern Europe-Hebrew and Yiddish-from their complex place in traditional Jewish society to the modern and secular Jewish experience. It presents a few concrete examples for this process during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The article then deals with the adaptation of Central and Western European languages within the internal Jewish discourse in these parts of Europe and presents examples from Germany, France, and Hungary.

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Amotz Giladi

Israeli poet Yonatan Ratosh was the leader of the Young Hebrews, a nationalist group active from the 1940s to the 1970s. Despite his opposition to Zionism and his aspiration to revive the ancient Hebrews’ premonotheistic civilization, Ratosh shared Zionism’s ambition to elaborate a new Israeli identity. One prominent act of this mission involved enlarging the literary corpus in Hebrew through translation. Although initially a means of income, for Ratosh translation increasingly came to be a way to express his ideological position and his self-image as an intellectual. Thus, Ratosh provides an example of how developing a national identity can coincide with appropriating foreign literature. With his regular exhortations that Hebrew readers attain knowledge of foreign cultures, Ratosh did not intend to promote cosmopolitanism. Rather, he considered these endeavors as ultimately reinforcing a “Hebrew” identity.

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David Allen Harvey

Classical polytheism or “paganism” presented a challenge to the Philhellenes of the Enlightenment, who found it difficult to accept that the greatest minds of antiquity had been taken in by (vide Fontenelle) “a heap of chimeras, delusions, and absurdities.” Rejecting the claim that “paganism” was a deformation of the “natural religion” of the early Hebrew patriarchs, several Enlightenment thinkers developed theories of classical polytheism, presenting it as the apotheosis of the great kings and heroes of the first ages of man, a system of allegorical symbols that conveyed timeless truths, and the effort of a prescientific mentality to understand the hidden forces of nature. Although divergent in their interpretations of “paganism,” these theories converged by separating its origins from Judeo-Christian traditions and presenting religion as an essentially human creation. Thus, Enlightenment theories of classical mythology contributed to the emergence of the more cosmopolitan and tolerant spirit that characterized the age.

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The Conceptual and Anthropological History of Bat Mitzvah

Two Lexical Paths and Two Jewish Identities

Hizky Shoham

Jews referred to coming-of-age ceremonies for girls in different places and historical contexts, is the history of the term bat mitzvah in Hebrew and English, the two main languages spoken by Jews in the two contemporary Jewish population centers that

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Constructing Difference and Imperial Strategy

Contrasting Representations of Irish and Zionist Nationalism in British Political Discourse (1917–1922)

Maggy Hary

, that Hagar was the wife of Abraham, and Sarah was his concubine; and this hatred is all the more envenomed because the Hebrew holds the direct opposite to have been the case. Other and more real hatreds have been superimposed, but the stories and

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Romanticizing Difference

Identities in Transformation after World War I

Nadia Malinovich

inaugural ceremony of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1925, the writer Jean-Richard Bloch described the “oriental” landscape of the university and the “occidental” origins of the participants, representatives of “science and humanism,” as a paradox

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Klaus Oschema, Mette Thunø, Evan Kuehn, and Blake Ewing

Greek translation of a Hebraic religious text making up the Hebrew Bible, and its journey in diverse texts over geographical, political, and social distances into the twentieth century, losing its religious connotations and being applied in the

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Matthew Trundle

better place than their present. Notions of progress or improvement were largely alien to ancient Greeks. 2 The distant past was a golden age in which the gods lived in harmony with nature. This was true as much for the Romans and the Hebrews as it was

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Annabel Brett, Fabian Steininger, Tobias Adler-Bartels, Juan Pablo Scarfi, and Jan Surman

–157), or Maschal (from Hebrew; comparison or parable, but also proverb) (לשמ; Daniel Weidner, 148–151) are good examples of trajectories of concepts that travel back and forth between German and Yiddish and meanings they have in these neighboring

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Benoît Godin

here. In 382 CE, Pope Damasus I commissioned Saint Jerome to produce a “standard” version of the Vetus Latina , which he did using original Greek and Hebrew texts. Four books in the Vulgate make use of innovo in a spiritual context (Job, Lamentations