Jacob Talmon

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J. L. Talmon

Jacob Leib Talmon (Hebrew: יעקב טלמון; June 14, 1916June 16, 1980) was Professor of Modern History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.



The Myth of the Nation and the Vision of Revolution: The Origins of Ideological Polarization in the 20th Century (1981)

The Myth of the Nation and the Vision of Revolution: The Origins of Ideological Polarization in the 20th Century (1981), University of California Press
  • Sorel the Dreyfusard eventually developed into a bitter anti-semite, calling upon Europe to defend itself against the Jewish peril in the same way as America fought the Yellow peril; he blamed the Chekist terror on the Jewish members of the Bolshevik party.
    • p. 474
  • Fascism presented itself not only as an alternative, but also as the heir to socialism. The original revolutionary dynamism of socialism was inspired by a universal creed poised to achieve an international revolutionary breakthrough. Once it succumbed to reformism, its internationalism changed from a militant crusade designed to change the world into simple bourgeois pacifism to be blown to the winds when emotional, idealistic and practical movements storm the hearts of peoples.
    • p. 501
London: Mercury Books. (Original work published 1952)
  • Indeed, from the vantage point of the mid twentieth century the history of the last hundred and fifty years looks like a systematic preparation for the headlong collision between empirical and liberal democracy on the one hand, and totalitarian Messianic democracy on the other, in which the world crisis of today consists.
  • The decline of religious authority implied the liberation of man's conscience, but it also implied something else. Religious ethics had to be speedily replaced by secular, social morality. With the rejection of the Church, and of transcendental justice, the State remained the sole source and sanction of morality. This was a matter of great importance at a time when politics were considered indistinguishable from ethics.
    The decline of the [associated] idea of status consequent on the rise of individualism spelt the doom of privilege, but also contained totalitarian potentialities.
    • p. 4
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