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Language in Time of Revolution$
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Benjamin Harshav

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520079588

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520079588.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

The Secular Polysystem

The Secular Polysystem

(p.33) Seven The Secular Polysystem
Language in Time of Revolution

Benjamin Harshav

University of California Press

This chapter states that the definition of Jewishness in the Religious Polysystem was legal and essentialist: A Jew was defined by being a Jew and was included in the whole network; whereas in the new, Secular Jewish Polysystem, it is voluntary and aspectual. The system itself may contain all aspects and institutions of modern life, but the individual may join voluntarily only some of those and join the polysystem of another nation for other aspects. This openness of coterritorial systems was convenient for the trend of assimilation to other societies, which increasingly enveloped more descendants of the Jews. In other words, the existence of a Jewish Secular Polysystem, even in its heyday in Poland and the Soviet Union between the two world wars, was not coextensive with the Jewish population.

Keywords:   Jewishness, Secular Jewish Polysystem, Jew, coterritorial systems, trend, assimilation, Poland, Soviet Union

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