Rhetoric and Nation: The Formation of Hebrew National Culture, 1880-1990

Shai Ginsburg

Recent and commonly accepted criticism holds that written and spoken Hebrew reveals a shared logic, a collective rhetoric that is identifiable and can be traced as an evolving phenomenon throughout the centuries. Ginsburg charts the emergence and formation of the Hebrew discourse of the nation from the late 19th century through the late 20th century. He challenges these notions of a common rhetoric by considering three areas of writing: literature, literary and cultural criticism, and ideological and political writings. Ginsburg argues that each text presents its own singular logic. Through close readings of key canonical texts, the author demonstrates that the Hebrew discourse of the nation should not be conceived as coherent and cohesive but, rather, as an assemblage of singular, disparate moments.