Page 39 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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SHAVIT / ERETZ-ISRAEL RESEARCH: DEVELOPEMENT AND TRENDS
27
example, as the brief Persian conquest (613-629 C.E.) and even
the Crusades. The tension between “sacred” and “secular” his­
tory is most evident regarding the biblical period but is not as pro­
nounced regarding later developments.
GROWTH AND SPONSORSHIP
The historical research at the Hebrew University, the develop­
ment of the “Jerusalem School” of history, and such concepts as
those held by Benzion Dinur, who advocated making Eretz-Israel
the pivotal center of all of Jewish history,5 together with the
growth of Jewish archaeological research beginning with the
twenties, were leading factors in the emergence of Eretz-Israel
research as an independent discipline. However, the full separa­
tion from such fields as Jewish history and biblical and theological
studies did not come about until the sixties, when the history of
Eretz-Israel and not merely of Eretz-Israel settlement was recog­
nized as an independent and legitimate study, one not limited to
archaeological research alone.
In 1976 there began to appear under the auspices of the Ben-
Zvi Institute the quarterly journal,
Cathedrafor the History ofEretz-
Israel and its Yishuv.6
Around this journal have gathered a whole
group of scholars from the various universities, which have
opened sections for Eretz-Israel history within their departments
of Jewish history. In one university, that of Haifa, an independ­
ent department for Eretz-Israel studies has been set up.
The first attempt to prepare a comprehensive history of Eretz-
Israel was made at the end of the thirties. Only the first volume
appeared of the projected series,
History of Eretz-Israel
(Hebrew,
1938) by Benjamin Mazar (Maisler), which covers the ancient
period up to the settlement. This book, and those that followed,
underscored the fact that Palestinian and Israeli scholars had
begun to view Eretz-Israel as a geographic-historic unit which
5 See his article, “The History o f th Yishuv and Its Place in General Jewish His­
tory as a Historiographical Problem,”
Historical Writings
(Hebrew, Jerusalem,
1925), vol. 2, pp. 79-86. See also his book,
Israel and the Diaspora
(Philadelphia,
1969).
6 In conjunction with Wayne State University Press, the Ben-Zvi Institute has
published three volumes o f
The Jerusalem Cathedra
(1981, 1982, 1983), con­
taining studies in the history, archaeology, geography and ethnography o f the
Land o f Israel.