Page 138 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
ences, the cultivation of the arts and physical development, the
thrust for modernism in its negative as well as positive forms,
avant garde literature, national pride and the striving for military
superiority. The attempt to negate the possibility of Jewish sur-
vival in the diaspora and discount Jewish spiritual merit beyond
Biblical times (as expressed by former Prime Minister Ben Gurion)
can be traced to Berdichevsky. This has been tempered considerably
by the holocaust in Europe, revived in the memory of the present
The cult of “Canaanism,” aiming to recapture some of the
“naturalness” of ancient paganism, though not drawn directly
from Berdichevsky, finds support and stimulation in his non-
conformist doctrines.
On the positive side and paramount in the history of Zionism,
is Berdichevsky’s individualism which spelled out Zionism in
personal terms. This was subsequently given deeper meaning by
other creative minds and became a major element in the ideology
of the
and in the upbuilding of the land of Israel.