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The ancient Hebrews, Erlich argues, invented a unique basis for social unity by forging an imaginative link between religion (or law), literary culture, and the specific land of Israel. In this conception, the land, the law, and the people of Israel are one, a living metaphor expressed in the idea of Zion.
The unity of land, law, and literature created by the Hebrews has been one of the most potent historical metaphors ever devised, strong enough to maintain a sense of national identity among Jews for over two thousand years. Without this Jewish literary culture, Erlich argues, there could have been no state of Israel, no matter what efforts were made by modern Zionist ideologues.
This book reads the ancient text with ancient eyes that make it startling and fresh for those conditioned to the "modern" view of national identity as based on either race or ideology. Modern Zionism, like modern nationalism generally, is a drastically impoverished descendant of this original Jewish nationalism, and Erlich concludes that many problems not only of Israel but of all modern nations struggling to define themselves in a changing world really stem from the loss of this vigorous ancient alternative.
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Victor Erlich was formerly a professor of English at the City University of New York.From Library Journal:
While modern Zionism was an outgrowth of 19th-century nationalist movements, the ties of the Jewish people to the land of Israel can be traced to the Bible. In a creative, inventive, and ingenious fashion, psychotherapist Erlich develops a biblical interpretation that focuses predominantly on the spiritual dimensions that bonded the ancient Israelites to their land. He postulates that the spiritual genius of ancient Israel, such as the concept of monotheism, flourished through an association of the people and the land, which was ideological as well as physical. His articulate retelling of the biblical stories to reflect his hypothesis is refreshingly literary-rather than literal. Though his major premises regarding biblical redaction are provocative and controversial, his conclusion that the biblical vision of Zionism can be a blueprint for peace is universally laudable. Highly recommended for stimulating reading.
Carol R. Glatt, Philadelphia VA Medical Ctr.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Free Press, U.S.A., 1995. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. 1st Edition. First edition 1995, first printing, numbers line starts with 1. Hardcover with DJ in mylar taped to boards. Condition as new, square tight and crisp book, no edgewear, no names no underlinings no highlights , no bent page corners, Not a reminder. DJ new, bright and shiny, no tears, no chips, Price Not clipped. 8vo, 277 pages, index. Seller Inventory # 015317
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