Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A History of the Jews

Less a seminal contribution than a distillation of a wide range of sources, this history of the Jews focuses on their four-millennia interplay with, and adaption to, other, often hostile, civilizations a "world history seen from the viewpoint of a learned and intelligent victim.'' Weaving biblical and archeological data, Johnson (Modern Times Revised Edition: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties), History of Christianity) is particularly deft at placing the patriarchs and early Israelites (the Bronze Age through the destruction of the First Temple) in their historical context. His dense, somewhat arbitrary, capsule extols Judaic rational scholarship which contributed to ethical monotheism and the 18th-century economic system, in turn and denigrates mystic kabbalah``heresy of the most pernicious kind.'' Although Johnson, who seeks to acknowledge ``the magnitude of the debt Christianity owes to Judaism,'' traces ``an inherent conflict'' between the religion and the state of Israel through the various ages, the work is incontrovertibly sympathetic to Zionism.

A History of the Jews.

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