(photo credit: Leadel.com)
Indeed, there is a bridge between the Jewish state and a Western state which exists in the genetic make up of the two state's roots. When
analyzing the dawn of Modernity, we come across Jewish ideas and Hebrew
sources. Through examples and texts of the leading philosophers and
writers of the 17th century, such as Thomas Hobbes and John Selden, Meirav Jones, a philosphy scholar and the head of Shalem Center's
Project on Jewish Ideas in the West, sits down with Leadel and explains the thinking behind those who
wrote the book on modern society.
In political science and philosophy studies we learn that Modernity is a secular enterprise, as it was taught by Thomas Hobbes
and in Western political thought. However, what role does Hebrew writing play in these political sources? One explanation comes from the Messianic mood of the era, making Jewish sources relevant to the Messianic ideas of the era, but Meirav Jones thinks differently.RELATED:Exclusive Video: Ayelet Noff - Blonde 2.0 Exclusive video: A life to tell
At the dawn of Modernity in 17th century England, the world was moving into a world of nation states.
The Hebrews had a model of a nation state - a model of a nation with its own laws and institutions that governed itself - something everyone was seeking during this period. The Hebrew model opens historical discussions on the topics of legislative thinking and the Sanhedrin such as creating a sustainable and ethical society with regard to the poor and resource distribution. The model addresses dilemmas of whether there should be a monarchy or democracy.
John Selden, the most important legal thinker in England, wrote a book filled with Hebrew words at a time when Jews did not reside in England.
Additionally, John Milton, in his political pamphlets, quoted Jewish
Although Jews had been expelled from England, Hebrew was taught at Oxford
and Cambridge University. It was one of the three languages, alonside
Greek and Latin that were allowed to be spoken at major universities.
The people who made their way to America during this time, were coming
from this world where Hebrew, Greek and Latin were the three languages
of this humanist world. In fact, it had an extra value existing as a common
language between Puritans and Messianic authors, so much that even the
opening address for Yale University was delivered in Hebrew.
Between 1574 and 1680 there are roughly 100 works that called upon some
variation of the Hebrew republic. Meirav proves that the model of
ancient Hebrews is something on which society can be shaped. Hebrew models were used in the structure of new European nations as their own nations and laws were
Meirav Jones is a philosophy scholar and the head of Shalem Center's
Project on Jewish Ideas in the West. Since 2005 she served as
associate editor of Hebraid Political Studies. Jones is currently an
Associate Fellow at Shalem in the Department of Philosophy, Political
Theory and Religion, pursuing a doctorate on the topic "The Image of
Israel and the Development of Political Ideas in England 1640-1660."
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>