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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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Worlds without Compromise: Reconstructing the Disparities

Worlds without Compromise: Reconstructing the Disparities

(p.188) 7 Worlds without Compromise: Reconstructing the Disparities
Athens in Jerusalem

Yaacov Shavit

, Chaya Naor, Niki Werner
Liverpool University Press

This chapter addresses the persistent binary between Jewish and Greek culture. It shows how Jewish writers, thinkers, and creative artists of diverse viewpoints adopted the binary model as an appropriate historical code. However, the chapter also reveals that the modern era formulated new conditions and inspired new meanings within tradition, or aroused protest against it for reasons new in nature. Since the eighteenth century, the confrontation or encounter with Greekness (as a metaphor for modern European culture) has neither exhausted nor diminished the debate in matters of philosophy or theology, but rather extended it to all areas of human existence. Gradually, all strata of Jewish society faced the new European culture, and became involved in the process of building and creating the new Jewish world. In the process, the validity of the antinomy was strengthened, and it became all-embracing — a historical and cultural challenge that had constantly to be faced. Paradoxically, as the desire to be regarded as a nation of culture became more intense and the broadening of the antinomy became more pronounced, the chapter reveals that a process of ‘Hellenization’ of thought categories and criteria deepened.

Keywords:   Hellenization, Jewish culture, Greek culture, Greekness, modern European culture, historical challenge, cultural challenge, thought categories

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