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The Origin of the JewsThe Quest for Roots in a Rootless Age$
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Steven Weitzman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174600

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174600.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 16 October 2021

Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive Innovation

The Jewish People as a Modern Invention

Chapter:
(p.245) Chapter Seven Disruptive Innovation
Source:
The Origin of the Jews
Author(s):

Steven Weitzman

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691174600.003.0008

This chapter examines the theory advanced by the Israeli historian Shlomo Sand stating that the Jews were a product of invention, and thus were an artificial people. In his book The Invention of the Jewish People, first published in Hebrew in 2008, Sand proposes an alternative account that traces Jewish origins to more recent times. The chapter considers the arguments for and against Sand's controversial theory and the distinctive conception of origin on which it depends. It discusses some of The Invention of the Jewish People's shortcomings, including Sand's treatment of conversion in relation to what is known in biology and linguistics as “polygenesis,” and the idea that the nation was a modern invention, citing the Jews as a classic example of premodern nationalism. Finally, it explains why some scholars embrace the constructivist approach to account for the invention of the nation and others choose primordialism.

Keywords:   invention, Shlomo Sand, Jews, The Invention of the Jewish People, Jewish origins, conversion, nation, premodern nationalism, constructivist approach, primordialism

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