Religion Paul Johnson A History of the Jews

ISBN 13: 9780060156985

A History of the Jews

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9780060156985: A History of the Jews

[Read by Nadia May -aka- Wanda McCaddon]

This historical magnum opus covers 4,000 years of the extraordinary history of the Jews as a people, a culture, and a nation. It shows the impact of Jewish character on the world: their genius, imagination and, most of all, their ability to persevere despite severe persecutions. Compelling insights into events and individuals are chronologically detailed, from Moses and Jesus to Spinoza, Marx, Freud, the Rothschilds, and Golda Meir.

''Why have I written a history of the Jews? . . . When I was working on my History of Christianity, I became aware for the first time in my life of the magnitude of debt Christianity owes to Judaism . . . the book gave me the chance to reconsider objectively, in the light of a study covering nearly 4,000 years, the most intractable of all human questions: what are we on earth for? Is history merely a series of events whose sum is meaningless?'' --from the Prologue

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Review:

Paul Johnson says that writing A History of the Jews was like writing a history of the world "seen from the viewpoint of a learned and intelligent victim." Johnson's history begins with the Bible and ends with the establishment of the State of Israel. Throughout, Johnson's history is driven by a philosophical interest: "The Jews," he writes, "stand right at the centre of the perennial attempt to give human life the dignity of a purpose. Does their own history suggest that such attempts are worth making? Or does it reveal their essential futility?" Johnson's history is lucid, thorough, and--as one would expect of almost any project with such a broad scope--a little wrong-headed. By the end of the book, readers will be grateful for Johnson's questioning of the Jews' confidence in their cosmic significance. However, readers may also be a little annoyed by his energetic inquiries as to whether this significance was man-made or providentially provided. Either way, it's a given: for a historian of Israel, this should adequately settle the question. Johnson's 600-page history is probably the best we've got by a living gentile--which is no small accomplishment at all. --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

PAUL JOHNSON is a British author and historian whose works span the millennia and run the gamut of human activities. His books include Modern Times, A History of the Jews, Intellectuals, The Birth of the Modern, and The Quest for God - which have been translated into many languages. He has been a frequent contributor to the Daily Telegraph, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Spectator, and other newspapers and magazines. He has lectured to academic, business, and political audiences all over the world.

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