Holy amnesia: remembering religious sages as super humans or as simply human

Yohai Hakak

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The last decade has witnessed a wave of Haredi literature dealing with the education of children and youth in particular. A common question raised in this literature is that of the proper way to describe the Torah sages of previous generations, i.e., what needs to be remembered and what should be forgotten about them. Many of the writers criticize the ways of writing customary up to our time, which tended to describe Torah sages as superhuman and as lacking any weaknesses or failings; raising educational concerns, they call for a change in these ways of portrayal. In this article, I apply Mary Douglas’s theoretical model of ‘‘enclave culture’’ to the current social circumstances of the Haredi community, in an attempt to explain both the origins of this trend as well as the sources of opposition to these new ways of writing history within the Haredi community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-240
Number of pages26
JournalContemporary Jewry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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