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Athens in JerusalemClassical Antiquity and Hellenism in the Making of the Modern Secular Jew$
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Yaacov Shavit

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774259

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774259.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 16 June 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Athens in Jerusalem
Author(s):

Yaacov Shavit

, Chaya Naor, Niki Werner
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774259.003.0001

This introductory chapter briefly deals with the question of a dichotomy between Athens and Jerusalem. More specifically, it aims to approach the issue by considering how Athens, with its associations of classical antiquity and Hellenism, might have any impact on modern Jewish culture. Both sides of this dichotomy, as this chapter shows, are quite different and distinct from one another. Indeed, they represent seemingly contradictory worlds. For the Jews, Athens represented Western culture as a whole. It was ‘modern’ and ‘secular’. A cultural value or trait was identified as ‘Greek’ in order to approve of it or, conversely, to attach a stigma to it. Some Jewish writers have also argued that ‘Athens’ and ‘Jerusalem’ signify the two forces of a primal duality (Urzwet) that have been contending with each other in Judaism since its inception, creating within it a tension, as well as a dynamic and enriching multiplicity. However, as this chapter shows, duality also creates a disintegrating tension, or one which in the final analysis causes the totality and the unity to alter their nature.

Keywords:   Athens, Jerusalem, classical antiquity, Hellenism, Greek influences, Western culture, modern Jewish culture

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