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

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

Yaacov Shavit

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9781874774259

Publisher: Liverpool University Press

Abstract

According to this book, the Hellenistic tradition played a role as a model for Jewish modernisers to draw upon as they perceived a lack in Jewish culture. The book claims that Greek and Hellenistic concepts are now internalised by the Jewish people. The book begins with the question of a dichotomy between Athens and Jerusalem and approaches the issue by considering how Athens, with its associations of classical antiquity and Hellenism, might have any impact on modern Jewish culture. The book considers what makes Hellenism and Hebraism conceptual twins. Further, it seeks to address why it was also necessary to place the Greek ideal in opposition to Hebraism (Judaism). In conclusion, the book explores the complex reality of the modern Jerusalem as it has been irrevocably influenced by Athens. It considers that, given Athens and Jerusalem are two antipodal entities, can these hostile and contradicting spiritual and cultural entities exist together? It reveals that modern Judaism, namely secular Judaism, inspired by Athens and shaped by the heritage of classical antiquity (and Western values), is a different type of Judaism from the Judaism of previous generations; therefore, the conflict between Athens and Jerusalem in Jerusalem was and is inevitable. This conflict is the core of the struggle over the identity and content of modern Judaism in Palestine.