Page 36 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
the subject o f homeland study and to give it a romantic aura. In
this their authors were influenced by the writings o f various Ger­
man romanticists.
The emphasis on the knowledge of the land was furthered
beginning with the twenties by various bodies (especially the
Histadrut), and gave rise to a number of leading personalities
who became known as expert guides. These included; Dov
Ashbel, Yosef Braslavy, Zev Vilnay, David Benveniste, Azriel
Broshi, Shmuel Avizur and others. A number o f articles which
appeared in Ely Schiller (ed.),
Zev Vilnay’sJubilee Volume
(Hebrew,
Jerusalem, 1984, pp. 15-56), deal with the contributions of the
veteran guide to whom the book is dedicated.
These men were followed by a second generation of writers on
Eretz-Israel history who made important contributions to the
field. Among them were Shlomo Shva, Zvi Ilan, Azariah Alon
and others.2 One should note that a number of them engaged in
scholarship as well as popular writing. The development o f this
type of literary activity, which combines the two aspects, has been
aptly described by Shaul Katz in his article, “The Israeli Teacher-
Guide: The Emergence and Perpetuation of a Role,”
Annals of
Tourism Research
, New York, vol. 12, 1985, pp. 49-72.
SACRED AND SECULAR
We have pointed to the desire of the members of the genera­
tion of national rebirth to transfer Eretz-Israel research from
those who were theologically oriented to those who were moti­
vated by national (and secular) ideals. The beginnings of “secular
history” are evident already as early as the 13th century. What
was involved was not simply the motivation to choose Eretz-Israel
as a place to visit but the character of the concerns of the religious
pilgrim. He also exhibited interest in the “earthly” aspects of
Eretz-Israel, its physical characteristics and its ethnography and
not just its sanctity.3
The renaissance period provided a new incentive for secular
2 Their writings include, among others, popular and even anecdotal accounts
o f events and places during the 19th century and the mandatory period.
3 See Aryeh Grabois, “From Holy Geography to Palestinography: Changes in
the Descriptions o f Thirteenth Century Pilgrims,”
Cathedra,
31 (April 1984),
pp. 43-66.