September 1, 2005 - February 28, 2006
Hedva Ben-Israel (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Yosef Salmon (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
Emmanuel Sivan (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Nationalism is one of the prominent subjects in scholarly discourse. There is a great deal of disagreement over its origins, essence, impact and degree of historical "naturalness", as well as its connection with religion. This relationship is riddled with paradox. Nationalism and religion appear sometimes as related and sometimes as opposed forces. Many historians and social scientists tend to see nationalism as a modern, political and secular phenomenon prompted by social and economic conditions that could emerge only after the decline of religion and as a substitute for it. Our choice of subject was prompted partly by the academic controversy and partly by contemporary cases where nationalist fervor and religious devotion are found together. It is also apparent that more historians are finding that in the past, too, many cases of nationalism were allied with religion or inspired by it. The purpose of our group is to compare the role of the three monotheistic religions and Hinduism in different cases of nationalism.