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Ahad Ha'am's Theory of Culture Revised

Ahad Ha'am's Theory of Culture Revised

Chapter:
(p.70) Chapter Six Ahad Ha'am's Theory of Culture Revised
Source:
Aesthetics of Renewal
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226842738.003.0007

Buber regarded himself a disciple of Ahad Ha'am, whom he hailed as “the deepest thinker of Jewish rebirth,” preferring to associate him generally with rebirth rather than with the more specific program of renaissance that he wishes to associate with his own name. Notwithstanding these ideological nuances, his understanding of cultural Zionism resonated with Ahad Ha'am's thinking. Like Buber, Ahad Ha'am sought to instill pride in Jewish identity, drew an analogy between the individual and the nation, and assigned priority to education. Both also agreed that the path to Zionism could not be driven by “the distress of the Jews” resulting from political antisemitism, yet there was a divide between these two leaders of cultural Zionism. Buber rejected Ahad Ha'am's evolutionism, which informed the latter's analysis of the Jewish question.

Keywords:   Martin Buber, cultural Zionism, Jewish identity, evolutionism

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