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Professor Steven Bowman, Department of Judaic Studies, University of Cincinnati
Alice Campbell Alumni Center Ballroom, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana
Free and open to the public.
Modern Greek Studies Program, UIUC; Department of Jewish Studies, UIUC; European Union Center (EUC), UIUC; Center of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (CSAMES), UIUC; Department of History, UIUC
Abstract: The impact of the Greek War of Independence in the 1820s stimulated a number of ethnic groups to think of nationalist revolution. Already in anticipation of the messianic year 1840, Jews too were excited by the Greek experience and local leaders, e.g., Judah Alqalai, turned to the tenth-century national epic "The Book of Yosippon" for inspiration. Balkan nationalism was stimulated by the decline of the Ottoman Caliphate, Russian military successes, millet system, and the resurrection of a national epic recalling the heroic loss of independence in earlier times. The Book of Yosippon became a key element in the development of Zionism which was strongly supported by Greek Jews who, along with their fellow citizens, positively received the Balfour Declaration that proposed a Jewish National Home in Palestine. The Book of Yosippon also stimulated the Jewish response to the Nazi onslaught that led to the Holocaust and in the wake of the war the reestablishment of the State of Israel.