A History of Judaism

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While reading Goodman’s newest release, it becomes quite obvious that the science of Jewish history is not merely what he practices for a living as a professor and president of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish studies, it is his passion. From first glance to the last page, this book exudes top-shelf quality, complete with glossy color photos of ancient archaeological finds, maps for every major section of history, a glossary of Hebraic terms in the very front, and an organization of the material which makes reading history a joy rather than a burden.

Early on, Goodman makes the point, supporting it continuously throughout the book, that the complexities of Jewishness vary not only with time but also with location and even within sects. In other words, never has there been a time when all of the Jews of a particular era or area agreed on anything, although in each era a dominant theology prevails, sometimes to the determent of the whole people. He emphasizes that even now the tapestry of modern Jews includes threads of every color, from those who believe their Messiah reins to those who still await his coming. There are those who zealously defend their right to live in Israel and those who choose to live elsewhere. And there are those who hold tight to ancient laws and customs and those who choose to live otherwise.

That Goodman expresses this thread of thought consistently without becoming monotonous testifies to his skill as a historian “par excellence.”

Reviewed By:

Author Martin Goodman
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 656 pages
Publisher Princeton University Press
Publish Date 2018-Feb-16
ISBN 9780691181271
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue June 2018
Category History


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