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Maccabees, Zealots and Josephus: The impact of zionism on Joseph Klausner’s history of the Second Temple

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Chapter Summary

It is hardly a secret that Zionist ideology had a profound impact on Joseph Klausner’s historiographic enterprise. Author believes that there is much to be said for a serious examination of nationalist element in his multi-volume work on the Second Temple. However author assesses the political and scholarly arguments for and against his appointment, a man who had nothing of the historian in him would not have been appointed to Klausner’s position in world’s flagship institution for Jewish Studies. With all his abundant methodological flaws, he was not a publicist pure and simple. This chapter underscores some of these flaws and questions this judgment. The ideological use of selected episodes in a nation’s history is an integral part of any nationalist movement. Zionism was no exception; indeed, its unusual character generated a particularly acute need to establish a national history that would provide models for struggling yishuv and early state.

Keywords: History of the Second Temple; Jewish studies; Joseph Klausner; national history; nationalist movement; Zionism



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