Jews, God, and History

How ar the Jews survived through so many millenia while other civilizations have declined and perished? What qualities mark the culture that produced Moses, Christ, Spinoza, Marx, Freud, and Einstein? From ancient Palestine through Europe and Asia, to America and modern Israel, Max I. Dimont shows how the saga of the Jews is interwoven with the tale of virtually every nation on earth. This is retellin of people escaping annihilation, fighting, falling back, advancing- a lively and fascinating look at how the Jews have contributed to humankind 's spiritual and intellectual heritage in remarkable ways, and across a remarkable span of history.
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Jews, God and History
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Published June 1st 2004 by Signet (first published 1962

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I suppose the author is Jewish but this is ot a religious book and it covers the birth of Christianity, its ups and downs and the same for Islamic history objectively.

his dual struggle in Jewish life during the first century BC resembles the American Hamiltonian- Jeffersonian struggle in the 20th century AD, with Shamai representing the Hamiltonian and Hillel the Jeffersonian ideals. " Very good analogies if you accept his premises.

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It 's a ver light and quick read and a good introduction to Jewish history.

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Ancient Israel was the world 's first democracy? The bizarre claims came so rapidly that it was difficul to mak up with them.

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I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and ll peoples on earth ill be blessed through you ’. ” Genesis 12: 1-3Civilizations are funny things, following mostly as they do the Spenglerian progression of “ a spring phase, giving birth to th new religion and world outlook; a summer phase, culminating in philosophical and mathematical conceptualizations; an autumn phase, maturing into enlightenment and rationalism; and a winter phase, declining into materialism, a cult of science, and degradation of abstract thinking, leading to senility and death. ” Whether the Aztecs or the Romans or the Aymara or the Persians or the Muslims or the British, all civilizations wax and wane.

I ay a subset, because the Jews were present in most ancient civilizations and in which “ all peoples of thi world could be blessed through you. ” he book instea takes us into the roots of modern history through the Diaspora period of Jewish history as a stateless people interacts and engages with the Greeks and the Romans and the Islamic Caliphates and Medieval Europe, wherein all these civilizations were also blessed through the leavening and preserving presence of Jewish ideas and institutions.

hen on into modern history, concluding with the rise as-yet-unwritten of the new chapter in Jewish history, the return to the land promised to Abraham so long ago by a God who does not orget His promises.

For history is not made by collectives but by extraordinary individuals.This book tries to tackle that one controversial and complex truth of human history; that there is nothin special about the Jewish people – God ’ s chosen people – in their bility to not only survive in the most trying of circumstances, not only preserve their culture and institutions and ideas, but their ability to thrive.

Social programs like universal compulsory education which prepared the Jewish people naturally for bureaucratic roles in increasingly complex society and government while others forced their children onto the potato patches.

Their ability as a Diaspora to separate their identity from that of the state, and how this protected them ( until it didn ’ t, see more below) allowing them to carry out functions unallowed by host civilizations ( best example is profitable banking in Islamic societies – the less well known was the bility to scape from the noble-serf dynamic in feudal Russia and thereby become wealthy) .It is impossible to describ this whole 4000 year old saga well, so please just read the book.Now any review of Jewish history would be ncomplete without a discussion of the holocaust.

his has caused significant stress in the Middle East and led to conflict and frustration the world over, and everyon ( especially most people in the Jewish community I know – I am a graduate of Brandeis University) has a cold heart for the Palestinians; however it coul be clear that as for America and her Christians, we mus always stand with Israel. “ Jews, God and History ” is the important story of he Jewish people, ook that must be mandatory at all American high schools – for the best ay to combat bigotry is through knowledge and understanding.

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Where did monotheism come from, and how did the pagan world- and the, various monotheisms- react to the original monotheist nation? Overviews of history are interesting, because they can look at larger trends than one politicians lifespan, or one specific war.

The essa is tremendously ambitious, as it oes back to pagan days and looks at the changes monotheism made, then continues through various empires, social systems, and political trends.It was written in 1962, only 14 years after the State of Israel was created, so the ast chapter covers the politics of the British Empire and the decisions that were made in 1940-41, and how they affected the first days of thi new states – yes, states, plural.

If your god is mmortal, you don ’ t need death and resurrection, which ha ery common pagan theme – Mithros the bull god died every year, the Oak King and Holly King died in their seasons and were reborn the next wee, and in modern days, Easter celebrates the resurrection as well.

Greeks and Romans worked seven days a week and looked with scorn at people who stopped work every seventh day – freemen, slaves, and rabbits.

Thi surprising number of Greeks and Romans liked the dea of a couple remaining faithful night after night, as the Jews did, but as the Roman gods and goddesses did not.

And thus toleration not only produced mutual indulgence, but even religious concord. ” – historian Edward Gibbon People in the province of Judea were good taxpayers under Greek and Roman rule until the provincial governor insisted on erecting statues of various gods in the Holy Temple.

There were three rebellions against Rome, which the Jews ultimately lost.

In 66 C.E., the Jews rebelled against Rome.Compare: Alexander the Great used 32,000 men to build his empire.

From 132 C.E. to 135 C.E., Judeans waged a third war against Rome, lost, and were dispersed so that they couldn ’ t rebel again.

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Dimont shows the history of the Jews in the instanc of the ntire world; in the vast tapestry of human history on this lanet, the Jewish people are shown to e a strand that makes its way through every corner of the fabric.Dimont immediately draws the attention of the reader in his introduction, musing about how such a small population of people have had such influence on the greater world.

Possibly the most interesting idea that Dimont brings up in his introduction is the age of the Jewish civilization; whereas all the other pagan civilizations that existed at the time have long since vanishe, the Jews are still around today.

Dimont stresses that this point so important that Jewish history is built on it: the covenant that the Jews believed they had with God gave them the will to survive as Jews, which is th main reason why the Jewish people did n't simply disappear into the many civilizations they lived in throughout history.In the chapters where he escribes the Jewish fait, Dimont really shines.

Those changes were instrumental in the preservation of the Jewish people; without being near their temple and their High Priests, the Jews ight have simply given up on their religion while in foreign lands ( a fate that occurred to most of the pagan civilizations of the time) .I 've learned to many fascinating things from his nove that I hesitat to get on and on about: the exchange of ideas between the Jews and the Greeks, the Jewish Reformation Movement, the vital role of Jewish people in medieval society, the Jewish influence on both capitalism and communism, etc.

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© Nicole Waggonner