Contrary to the widespread view that nationalism is a modern phenomenon, Goodblatt argues that it can be found in the ancient world. He argues that concepts of nationalism compatible with contemporary social scientific theories can be documented in the ancient sources from the Mediterranean Rim by the middle of the last millennium BCE. In particular, the collective identity asserted by the Jews in antiquity fits contemporary definitions of nationalism. After the theoretical discussion in the opening chapter, the author examines several factors constitutive of ancient Jewish nationalism. He shows how this identity was socially constructed by such means as the mass dissemination of biblical literature, retention of the Hebrew language, and through the priestly caste. The author also discusses each of the names used to express Jewish national identity: Israel, Judah and Zion.
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(228mm x 152mm x 19mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - David Goodblatt
David Goodblatt is Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego where he holds the Endowed Chair in Judaic Studies. Previously he taught for over a decade in the Jewish History Department of the University of Haifa and was the Louis L. Kaplan Professor of Jewish History at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Rabbinic Instruction in Sasanian Babylonia and The Monarchic Principle: Studies in Jewish Self-government in Antiquity.