The Jews A History

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-07-03
  • Publisher: Pearson
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"New research has conspired to unsettle many established ideas about the Jewish past, challenging how historians have thought about and described it, and sometimes making it appear less accessible than it was thought to be in earlier generations. While these recent developments would appear to make a history of the Jewish people more difficult, the authors of The Jews: A History believe it has deepened and broadened our understanding. Though the reader will find many familiar names in The Jews, they will also find a broader spectrum of people: mothers, children, workers, students, artists, and radicals whose perspectives greatly expand the story of Jewish life from ancient times to the present."--BOOK JACKET.

Author Biography

John Efron holds the Koret Chair in Jewish History at the University of California-Berkeley, where he is a specialist in the cultural and social history of German Jewry.  A native of Melbourne, Australia, he has a B.A. from Monash University in Melbourne, has studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, took his M.A. at New York University and earned a Ph.D. at Columbia University.


In addition to many articles, most recently dealing with Jewish popular culture, his books include: Medicine and the German Jews: A History (Yale University Press, 2001); and Defenders of the Race: Jewish Doctors and Race Science in Fin-de-Siècle Europe (Yale University Press, 1994). He also co-edited the volume, Jewish History and Jewish Memory: Essays in Honor of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (University Press of New England, 1998). He is now working on a monograph entitled Orientalism and the German Jews in the Age of Emancipation.


Steven Weitzman received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1987 and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1993 in the field of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He became a faculty member of IU’s Religious Studies department in 1993 and was chosen as first incumbent of the Irving M. Glazer Chair of Jewish Studies in 2002. That same year, he also became the director of the Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program.


Steven Weitzman is a scholar of the Hebrew Bible and early Jewish texts like the Dead Sea Scrolls, much of his work focusing on literary and religious practice in the centuries following the biblical period. Drawing heavily on comparative evidence from ancient Near Eastern, Greek and Roman literature, his research has sought to rethink the relationship between texts and contexts in the Hebrew Bible/early Judaism and to pose new questions about ritual, religious violence, early Jewish literary practice, and the history of biblical interpretation.


Professor Weitzman’s first book, Song and Story in Biblical Narrative, was the winner of the Gustave O. Arlt Prize for Outstanding Scholarship in the Humanities awarded once every seven years to a book in Religious Studies by the Council of Graduate Schools, and he has since received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Yad-Hadiv Foundation. Subsequent books include Surviving Sacrilege (Harvard University Press, 2005); Religion and the Self in Antiquity (edited with David Brakke and Michael Satlow from Indiana University Press, 2005); and The Jews: a History (with John Efron, Matthias Lehmann and Joshua Holo, forthcoming from Prentice Hall). His current projects include a biography of King Solomon under contract with Yale University Press.


Professor Weitzman serves on the editorial board of Prooftexts, the only English language journal of Jewish literary history; chaired the Bible division of the Association for Jewish Studies, and was an associate director of the Tel Beth Shemesh archaeological excavation in Israel from




Matthias B. Lehmann is an historian of early modern and modern Jewish history with a special interest in the history of the Spanish Jews and the Sephardi diaspora in the Mediterranean world. After studying in Freiburg, Jerusalem, Berlin, and Madrid, he earned his Ph.D. from Freie Universität Berlin in 2002 and is an associate professor of History and Jewish Studies at Indiana University. His is the author of Ladino Rabbinic Literature and Ottoman Sephardic Culture (Indiana University Press, 2005), runner-up for the National Jewish Book Award in 2006. His articles have appeared in Jewish History, Jewish Social Studies, Sefarad, and Jewish Studies Quarterly. He is currently working on a book entitled Networks of Benevolence: Philanthropy and Identity in the Sephardi Diaspora , looking at rabbinic networks and networks of support for the Jewish communities of Palestine in the Sephardi diaspora in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


Joshua Holo is Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director, Louchheim School of Judaic Studies at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. He has published on the Jews in Byzantium, Italy and Spain in the medieval period, including The Jews of Byzantium in the Mediterranean Economy, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press, and a number of articles ranging from Genizah studies to intellectual history. He curated an exhibition of Spanish Hebrew documents and inscriptions in Valencia, Spain, and he edited the scholarly catalogue, Los judíos españoles según las Fuentes hebreas. He is currently investigating the German-Jewish community of Venice and the founding the first Ghetto in the sixteenth century, and continues work on the Jews of Byzantium.




Table of Contents

Ancient Israel and other Ancestors
Becoming the People of the Book
Jews and Greeks, Jews in Greek
Between Caesar and God
Rabbinic Revelations
Under the Crescent
Under the Cross
A Jewish Renaissance
New Worlds, East and West
The State of the Jews, Jews and the State
Modern Transformations
The Politics of Being Jewish
A World Upended
The Holocaust
Difficult Freedoms
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