The Yeshiva and the Rise of Modern Hebrew Literature
Published by: Indiana University Press
The Yeshiva and the Rise of Modern Hebrew Literature argues that the institution of the yeshiva and its ideals of Jewish textual study played a seminal role in the resurgence of Hebrew literature in modern times. Departing from the conventional interpretation of the origins of Hebrew literature in secular culture, Marina Zilbergerts points to the practices and metaphysics of Talmud study as its essential animating forces. Focusing on the early works and personal histories of founding figures of Hebrew literature, from Moshe Leib Lilienblum to Chaim Nachman Bialik, The Yeshiva and the Rise of Modern Hebrew Literature reveals the lasting engagement of modern Jewish letters with the hallowed tradition of rabbinic learning.
Note on Transliteration
1. Men of Letters
2. How the Word Became Flesh
3. Texts on Trial
4. Literary Apostasy
5. Readers' Paradise
6. The Talmudic Passion
Epilogue: Reflections on the Value of Literature
"Marina Zilbergerts's impressively informed book provides a fresh perspective on the Hebrew literature written in Russia in the nineteenth century in two ways: it persuasively shows how enmeshed the Hebrew works were in the Russian intellectual trends of the era, especially Nihilism; and it makes a good case that the yeshiva experience, formative for most of these writers, was not cast aside, as often is claimed, but rather carried over in the attitudes of the writers about textuality, interpretation, and the value of literature."~Robert Alter, University of California, Berkeley
"The Yeshiva and the Rise of Modern Jewish Literature is among the most important and original contributions to our understanding of Jewish literary modernity to appear in the last fifty years. Zilbergerts reveals East European Haskalah writing as an outgrowth of the modes of textuality cultivated in the region's iconic yeshivas rather than a complete break from that world."~Glenn Dynner, Sarah Lawrence College
"With clarity and purpose Marina Zilbergerts reveals the rabbinic features of modern Jewish literature. This subversive work will change the way scholars of Hebrew literature look at the Jewish past. It should be required reading for those wishing to understand the relationship of modern literature to premodern canons."~Eliyahu Stern, Yale University
"Zilbergerts's readings of modern Hebrew pioneers like Lilienblum and Bialik are as elegant as some of the modern Hebrew texts she analyzes. Her writing is clear and concise, and the book is never bogged down by polemics with secondary literature or unnecessary references to primary sources."~Jewish Review of Books
"Marina Zilbergerts's The Yeshiva and the Rise of Modern Hebrew Literature undertakes an ambitious task: to chart anew the emergence of modern He- brew literature in Russia during the second half of the nineteenth century. Hebrew literature was informed, the author suggests, by three main forces: the Jewish Haskalah; Russian intellectual trends of the time; and elite rabbinic culture."