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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: 04 August 2021

‘Greek Wisdom’ as Secular Knowledge and Science

‘Greek Wisdom’ as Secular Knowledge and Science

(p.79) 4 ‘Greek Wisdom’ as Secular Knowledge and Science
Athens in Jerusalem

Yaacov Shavit

, Chaya Naor, Niki Werner
Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on how ‘Greek wisdom’ is treated in Jewish culture. It shows that the term ‘Greek wisdom’ had a long history, and the maskilim (men of letters and thinkers) turned to it to seek support and legitimization for their views in the Jewish intellectual tradition. The term ‘wisdom’ was the main — perhaps even the only positive signal with which the Jews marked part of the Greek-Hellenistic culture, and the one with the longest and most consecutive history; it was generally identified with Greek wisdom. It meant the heritage and legacy of classical antiquity and Hellenism in philosophy, sciences, and the arts; it also symbolized a lost Jewish heritage and the proper relationship between the Jewish world and the world of the Gentiles. Moreover, wisdom became a multipurpose and multivalent concept that in the intellectual utopia of the maskilim was intended to serve as a bridge and intermediary between the Jewish intellectual tradition and the outside world.

Keywords:   Greek wisdom, maskilim, Jewish intellectual tradition, Jewish heritage, intellectual utopia, secular knowledge

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