Simon Dubnow Institute
for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University

toldot, Volume 11 (2013)

Jan Eike Dunkhase:

Spinoza der Hebräer.

Zu einer israelischen Erinnerungsfigur


With a foreword by Dan Diner


155 pp. with 1 illustration, paperback
Göttingen/Bristol, Conn.: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013
ISBN 978-3-525-35112-3
Price: 25,00 € (D)
ISBN 978-3-647-35112-4 (e-book)
Price: 19,99 € (D)





Jan Eike Dunkhase tells the story of how and why Spinoza (1632–1677) became a cultural icon for secular Israelis. Drawing a line between early modern Amsterdam and contemporary Tel Aviv, extending from the seventeenth century to the present, this essay on the appropriation of Spinoza by national Jewish memory deals with thinkers as Moses Hess, historians as Heinrich Graetz, and Zionists from Eastern Europe such as Joseph Klausner, Nahum Sokolov and David Ben-Gurion.


Particular attention is paid to the Hebrew translations of Spinoza's work, which have provided the basis for creative adoptions of the philosopher's thinking in current Israeli culture. Thus, the genealogy of »Spinoza the Hebrew« opens a new historic perspective on Israeli secularism and its conflicts.