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20 The Dialectics of Diaspora in Contemporary Modernity

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Chapter Summary

Dwelling far from one's homeland is a frequently re-occurring Ur-Geschichte in stories of the Bible. In Jewish history, it constitutes what scholars of literature would call a leitmotiv. A Diaspora-Jewish attitude comprises a basic distrust of power-holders, aimed principally, if not necessarily directly, at concrete contemporary rulers. This chapter elaborates on a contra-factual hypothesis, asking what would have happened to Jewry had the Jews not been forced into repeated diasporas and remained a tribe in Judean desert. The chapter attempts to figure out how Diaspora Jewry and Israel in a not too distant future might come to develop and relate to each other. This may be summarized in the following three points: In the Diaspora, Judaism will increasingly evolve towards a vague ethno-culturalism; In Israel, Judaism will become increasingly terrestrially focused; The two entities of world Jewry will increasingly grow apart, but remain a reciprocal "heartache" for each of them.

Keywords: contra-factual hypothesis; Diaspora-Jewish attitude; ethno-culturalism; Judaism; leitmotiv; stories of Bible; world Jewry

10.1163/9789004277076_022
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