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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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Back to History: The Secularization of the Ancient Jewish Past

Back to History: The Secularization of the Ancient Jewish Past

(p.355) 12 Back to History: The Secularization of the Ancient Jewish Past
Athens in Jerusalem

Yaacov Shavit

, Chaya Naor, Niki Werner
Liverpool University Press

This chapter addresses issues in the new Jewish historical consciousness. ‘History’ in this context meant not only the knowledge of the national chronology, but the collective experience of the people, its past and future, its aspirations, hopes, and destiny. The call for a return to the Jewish past meant both changing the nature of Jewish activities and attitudes and reconstructing the people’s self-awareness; namely, the creation of a new historical consciousness. The chronicles of the Jewish people, its collective experience, faith, and destiny in history, its perceptions and myths, became the core of its self-definition and identity. Jews in modern times not only ‘returned to history’, they also related to their history as the principal manifestation of their identity. But if historical consciousness is so vital and if modern historical understanding constitutes a radical departure from the Judaeo-Christian tradition and a turning back to Greek (that is, pagan) historical conceptions, the chapter questions if the new Jewish historical consciousness be could founded on the basis of a view of history that knew nothing of Scripture and a philosophy that was trying to free itself from Scripture.

Keywords:   Jewish history, Jewish past, national unity, Jewish historical consciousness, modern historical understanding, historical identity

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