By Paul Johnson
A countrywide bestseller, this really good 4000 yr survey covers not just Jewish historical past yet he influence of Jewish genius and mind's eye at the international. via the writer of Modern occasions: the area From the Twenties to the Eighties.
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Extra resources for A History of the Jews
The different Israelite tribes acted independently of each other, and sometimes fought. They had a variety of enemies: Canaanite enclaves, incursive Bedouin tribes, the new menace of the Philistines pushing in from the coast. They also had to take over from the Canaanites they had beaten, restore the cities, work the land. 134 The children of Israel had a lot to learn. 135 That is what helps to give the land its extraordinary fascination and beauty. But it also tended to perpetuate tribal divisions and impede unity.
97 This Mosaic legal material covers an immense variety of subjects. By no means all of it dates from Moses’ time, let alone in the form it has come down to us. Some of it deals with settled agriculture, for instance, and must date from the period after the conquest of Canaan. 98 But the Israelites were already becoming a very legal-minded people, quite capable of innovation, or of transforming the notions they found around them so thoroughly as to constitute novelty. The old theory that the mass of the Mosaic material derives from post-Exilic times can now be dismissed.
The idea seems to have been derived from Babylonian astronomy, but its rationale in the Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy is variously stated as commemorating God’s rest after creation, the liberation of Israel from Egyptian slavery and the humanitarian need to give labourers, especially slaves and beasts of burden, some respite. The day of rest is one of the great Jewish contributions to the comfort and joy of mankind. ’105 So this, too, became an element in the belief of other peoples that the Jews held aloof from the rest of humanity.
A History of the Jews by Paul Johnson