Two Endings to One Revolution

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:
Two Endings to One Revolution

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  • Social and Cultural Anthropology


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The ideologies and parties that had engulfed Jewish society at the beginning of the century exhausted their debates and disappeared in the Diaspora, and their survivors blended into the puzzle of political and pragmatic parties vying for power in the State of Israel. The imaginative efforts to establish a Secular Jewish Polysystem without a territorial power base did not last: Yiddish and Hebrew died out in the Diaspora as base languages of a society, and with them went their literatures and cultures. Their assumption that an autonomous Jewish secular culture in Diaspora was possible did not transfer to English or other languages. The Nazi Holocaust and Soviet anti-Semitism put an end to the forms of Jewish culture in Europe and assimilation worked at full blast: in terms of personal commitment, the attachment of any individual to Hebrew or Yiddish literature or to the intrinsic Jewish establishment was a matter of one generation, two at most.

Keywords: parties; Diaspora; Israel; Secular Jewish Polysystem; Hebrew; languages; literatures; cultures; anti-Semitism; assimilation

Chapter.  2913 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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