This book deals with two remarkable events--the worldwide transformations of the Jews in the modern age and the revival of the ancient Hebrew language. It is a book about social and cultural history addressed not only to the professional historian, and a book about Jews addressed not only to Jewish readers. It tries to rethink a wide field of cultural phenomena and present the main ideas to the intelligent reader, or, better, present a "family picture" of related and contiguous ideas. Many names and details are mentioned, which may not all be familiar to the uninitiated; their function is to provide some concrete texture for this dramatic story, but the focus is on the story itself.
Benjamin Harshav, was a translator, poet, and scholar of Hebrew and Yiddish literature. Harshav was and the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature at Yale University, and in 1992, a professor of Slavic languages and literature.
"With his customary versatility and lucidity Professor Harshav has given us in Language in Time of Revolution a host of new and provocative insights into modern Jewish history. The modern Jewish revolution has been multi-faceted and profound. This book is an outstanding attempt to juxtapose the revolution in Jewish life with that of the Hebrew language in such a way that each informs our understanding of the other. Language in Time of Revolution should be mandatory reading for anyone prepared to confront and appreciate just how deep and radical that revolution has been."--Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Columbia University "A wise, original, and stimulating book . . . on shaping of modern Jewish culture. . . . Humane, deeply erudite, and very satisfying."--Steven Zipperstein, Stanford University "The crisscrossing among the discourses of literature, ideology, history, and linguistics makes for a heady intellectual experience. . . . Harshav writes with great authority and verve. . . . His discussions are a model of clarity."--Alan Mintz, Brandeis University