Religion, Change and Continuity in History - The Case Study of Modern Jewish History

It is argued that secularization creates a fundamental change, to the point of break, in the history of culture, or alternatively, starts a new history. This statement assumes a relation between religion and historical reality. Thus, in a reality in which religion possesses weight and significance for people, the historical process is characterized by continuity, but this is broken in a reality of secularization. The paper explores two models. The break model is based on a diachronic observation, which examines present reality in light of past events. Accordingly, the reality of secularization is perceived as expressing a break and detachment from the collective memory, whose roots are planted in religion and tradition. The Continuity model is based on a synchronous observation focused on the present-day reality of life. It holds that despite the great changes in the status of religion, in a reality of secularization there occur processes of translation, adoption, and adaptation of contents and values from the tradition to the present-day reality. Thus, historical continuity is enabled. Finally, a third way is indicated out of the analysis of the hermeneutical possibilities and the deficiencies of both models.