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Tangled Roots: The Emergence of Israeli Culture
Israel Bartal
BJS 365
Publication Date
February 2020


A new interpretation of the roots of Israeli culture

In Tangled Roots: The Emergence of Israeli Culture, Israel Bartal traces the history of modern Hebrew culture prior to the emergence of political Zionism. Bartal examines how traditional and modernist ideals and Western and non-European Jewish cultures merged in an unprecedented encounter between an ancient land (Israel) and a multigenerational people (the Jews). Premodern Jewish traditionalists, Palestinian locals, foreign imperial forces, and Jewish intellectuals, writers, journalists, and party functionaries each affected the Israeli culture that emerged. As this new Hebrew culture was taking shape, the memory of the recent European past played a highly influential role in shaping the image of the New Hebrew, that mythological hero who was meant to supplant the East European exilic Jew.


A critical revision of most contemporary politicized histories of Jewish nationalismAn examination of the history of modern Hebrew culture prior to political Zionism

Israel Bartal is Professor Emeritus of Jewish History and the former Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2006–2010). He served as the Chair of the Historical Society of Israel (2007–2015). He is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences. He is the author of The Jews of Eastern Europe: 1772–1881 (2005, 2006, also translated into Hebrew, Russian, and German).

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This is Brown Judaic Studies 365. See more available volumes in the BJS series.