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Glory and AgonyIsaac's Sacrifice and National Narrative$
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Yael Feldman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804759021

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804759021.001.0001

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Re-inventing “Isaac” as a Military Hero

Re-inventing “Isaac” as a Military Hero

(p.70) Two Re-inventing “Isaac” as a Military Hero
Glory and Agony
Stanford University Press

This chapter examines the curious presence of martyrological tropes in Zvi Shatz's fictional rendering of the 1918 controversy over the Jewish Legion by situating it in the debate surrounding the first Yizkor Book (memorbuch), published in Eretz Israel earlier the same decade. It suggests that Y. H. Brenner's rejection of the sanctification of death and the cultivation of hagiography resonates in the position of Ya'akov, Shatz's oppositional character. The chapter traces the scorn of “holy sanctimonies” articulated by Shatz's pacifist protagonist to tempestuous objections expressed by Brenner that could not withstand the much stronger tides of “holy wars” and “national martyrdom” of the era. In other words, it is argued that despite the denigration of qiddush hashem by the Eastern European self-defense movements, its replacement by a heroic warrior code did not survive the pressures experienced by the Jewish new settlers in Palestine in the first decades of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   Zvi Shatz, Y. H. Brenner, holy wars, qiddush hashem, warrior code, Yizkor Book

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