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Ha’am, Ahad (1856–1927)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-J039-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Ahad Ha’am (Asher Hirsch Ginzberg) was one of the most remarkable Jewish thinkers and Zionist ideologists of his time. Born in the province of Kiev in the Ukraine, he moved in 1884 to Odessa, an important centre of Hebrew literary activity. In 1907 he moved on to London, and in 1922 settled in the young city of Tel Aviv. He attended the universities of Vienna, Berlin and Breslau but did not pursue any regular course of study and was primarily an autodidact. Never a systematic philosopher, Ginzberg, who wrote in Hebrew and adopted the pen name Ahad Ha’am, ‘one of the people’, became a first-rate and widely read essayist and polemicist. He engaged in controversies over the practical problems of the early Jewish settlements in Palestine, his opposition to Theodore Herzl’s drive to create a Jewish state, and numerous problems of Hebrew culture, tradition and literature. No single principle or theme stands out as the guiding idea of his thought. Indeed, his ideas are sometimes inconsistent. But his writings preserve the flavour of his values and commitments. Although his outlook never became the main road of Zionist ideology, its impact on Zionist thought was powerful, especially after the establishment of the State of Israel.

Citing this article:
Levy, Zeev. Ha’am, Ahad (1856–1927), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-J039-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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