Becoming Hebrew: The Creation of a Jewish National Culture in Ottoman Palestine

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53 Scopus citations


Becoming Hebrew is a study of the ways in which a Zionist national culture was generated in the Jewish Yishuv (prestate community) of Palestine between 1900 and 1914. The book addresses three principal lacunae in the study of Zionist culture to date. The first of these is chronological. Much of the literature to date has assumed that a distinctive Zionist national culture began to appear in Palestine during the interwar period, whereas Becoming Hebrew argues that its formative period in fact predates the war. Out of this chronological claim emerge the two additional, more conceptually and theoretically substantive, correctives. In the first instance, the book shows that the relationship between the Zionist cultural undertaking and traditional Jewish culture is far more complicated and nuanced than has often been recognized. Joining a new and important historiographical trend, the book suggests further that the Zionist case sheds important light on nationalism generally, which itself emerges in a more complex and dialectical relationship with the religious cultures and traditional societies out of which it grows than has often been acknowledged in much of the now classical literature. Finally, in its conceptualization of "culture" as created in Zionist Palestine, the book synthesizes a literary-like study of imageries and discourses and a more anthropological examination of observable cultural practices and tangible, public social processes to produce a history of culture as a broad interweaving of many aspects of human life.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages326
ISBN (Electronic)9780199868100
ISBN (Print)9780195331219
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cultural history
  • Hebrew
  • Jewish history
  • Jewish politics
  • Judaism
  • Nationalism
  • Orientalism
  • Palestine
  • Yishuv
  • Zionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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