The Miracle of the Revival of Hebrew

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:
The Miracle of the Revival of Hebrew

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The unprecedented revival of the ancient Hebrew language and the creation of a new society on its base was perceived as a miraculous event. This chapter shows that there was an intricate combination of social and historical factors, of collective willpower and accidents of history which brought it about. The importance of this renaissance is not just in the miracle of language and all that a language means to its users; it created the base on which a new, secular-type Jewish society and culture could emerge again and give life to that burnt phoenix, that “fossil” of history, the Jews. It gave its users a vehicle for expressing a totality of twentieth-century experience in a language of their own, and a new social identity, irrespective of their various countries of origin and views in politics.

Keywords: revival; Hebrew; language; society; culture; identity; politics

Chapter.  3791 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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