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Grant number: FB-58341-15

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Olga Litvak
Clark University (Worcester, MA 01610-1477)

Russian Intellectual M. L. Lilienblum (1843-1910) and the Origins of Zionism

"Mind of a Nation" is an intellectual biography of M. L. Lilienblum (1843-1910), Talmudic prodigy and co-founder of the Zionist movement in imperial Russia. Throughout his long career as a public controversialist, educator, writer and mentor to the first generation of Russian colonists in Ottoman Palestine, Lilienblum spoke for Russian Zionism during its formative years. Contrary to current consensus which locates Jewish nationalism en route to secularization and political empowerment, the history of Lilienblum's Zionist vocation demonstrates that Jewish nationalism was, at its core, a moral revolution, rooted in the study house; Jewish sovereignty was not a transparent response to the scandal of Jewish abjection but the crystallization of Jewish legal consciousness. Lilienblum's trajectory as a Jewish thinker reveals the implicitly Jewish genealogy of Jewish nationalism and spotlights the rich analytical potential of studying the religious origins of modern political cultures.

Project fields:
Intellectual History; Jewish Studies; Russian History

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2015 – 7/31/2016