A New Period in History

Benjamin Harshav

in Language in Time of Revolution

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1993 | ISBN: 9780520079588
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912960 | DOI:
A New Period in History

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There are no neat boundaries in history. If one looks at broad movements such as “Zionism,” “Romanticism,” “Futurism,” or “Hasidism,” one sees that they are characterized by a heterogeneous but intertwined cluster of institutions, ideas, and features, expressed in specific persons, actions, and texts, and located in a given time and place. If one analyzes such a complex, one sees that for almost every individual phenomenon, motif, or idea, one can find both roots and antecedents in preceding periods. A new trend in history is marked not by the novelty of each detail; instead, one has a new framework that reorganizes various elements in a new way, selects and highlights previously neglected features, adds conspicuous new ones, changes their hierarchies, and thus makes the complex a totally new global entity. When such a framework is perceived as a new trend, it can win a broad following and become a dominant force in society.

Keywords: Zionism; Romanticism; Futurism; Hasidism; time; place; motif; history; hierarchies

Chapter.  1765 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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