So as not to give any sense of closure, the final installment of this Chanukah series will be a list for further reading. Foremost, R’ Lichtenstein has some great essays on the topic, one in particular which takes a contrast between the figures/books of Job and Prometheus as a starting point for a contrast between Judaism and Hellenism. It can be accessed here. R’ Aharon’s writing is both proponent and paradigm of fruitful coexistence between Jerusalem and Athens. I’d also recommend this essay by R’ Lichtenstein, on a similar topic, but there’s a bunch to choose from if you go here.
Amongst the sources that R’ Lichtenstein refers to, there’s a well-known (the same was that certain Rashis are ‘well-known’) chapter called ‘Hellenism and Hebraism’ in Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy (I love free books). Arnold bears no relation to the protagonist of the Chanukah story who bears the same first name.
If I haven’t plugged Levinas enough, here goes again. READ LEVINAS. His three volumes of Talmudic Readings (which I linked to in this post) are wonderful examples of how the ongoing collision between Judaism and Hellenism yet bears fruit, as Levinas himself wrote, “The Septuagint is still incomplete”.
There are some wonderful books in English and Hebrew about themes of Chanukah, some of which are truly wonderful. My goal was to draw attention to the way that the mythic clash between these two civilizations has been understood and applied in different generations.
Next year, who knows? There’ll still be what to blog…