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Jewish Concepts of ScriptureA Comparative Introduction$
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Benjamin D. Sommer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814740620

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814740620.001.0001

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Scripture and Israeli Secular Culture

Scripture and Israeli Secular Culture

(p.299) Chapter 17 Scripture and Israeli Secular Culture
Jewish Concepts of Scripture

Yair Zakovitch

NYU Press

This chapter narrates how secular Jews in Europe, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, came to associate rabbinic literature with narrow-minded orthodoxy. Secular Zionists, in particular, wished to disassociate themselves from the shtetl—the life of traditional Jews in eastern Europe. The hand that severed the Jewish tree of knowledge left a void between the biblical period and contemporary era. The reason for this forgoing of old writings and holding on to the Bible alone can be traced to the Enlightenment, when the Jews aspired to establish their culture on the component it shared with the surrounding Christian society, to renounce the old image of the Jew, the world of the heder and the yeshiva, and to erect in its place a new Jew who jumped from the biblical period to the modern day.

Keywords:   secular Jews, rabbinic literature, orthodoxy, secular Zionists, shtetl, Christian society, heder, yeshiva

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