Customer Reviews for

History of the Jews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2006

    From Abraham to Israel. An Immense Stuty

    Historian Paul Johnson provides an extremely well written, in depth investigation into the 4,000 year history of the Jewish people. This is an incredible study, written with due precision and well worth a place in anyone's library. From a Christian perspective the author acknowledges at the outset the enormous depth that Christianity owes to Judaism and his discovery that, contrary to his earlier teachings, the New Testament had not replaced the Old. Within the context of Jewish ancestry, the author cites early in the text of this excellent work that 'the Jews are thus the only people in the world today who possess a historical record, however obscure in places, which allows them to trace their origins back into very remote times'. The study, spanning some 600 pages, reaches back to the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) and the Genesis account, before extending through the millenia to the present day. The periods of exile and the rebirth of their historic Jewish nation/homeland are also commendably studied together with the ongoing regathering of the physical descendants of the Israel to their historic homeland. Further content includes the Arab/Israeli conflict, wars and ongoing terrorism including anti-Semitism within the surrounding Arab/Islamic world and the role of the UN. Attention is also paid to the immense contribution of Jews to science, physiology and medicine etc., etc. and the subsequent awards of numerable Nobel prizes. It becomes evident as the reader progresses through this study that, despite the Diaspora, a Jewish presence has remained in their ancient homeland throughout antiquity, showing the Jews to be the only truly indigenous people in the Land. A worthy factor to be considered by students of this subject. The book comprises of seven major sections (each with sub-sections of it's own), namely Part One Israelites. Part Two Judaism. Part Three Cathedocracy. Part Four Ghetto. Part Five Emancipation. Part Six Holocaust. Part Seven Zion. Through the immense content, the reader is provided with a considerably detailed account of how, despite innumerable pograms, forced conversions, persecutions, ethnic cleansing from somenations during their Diaspora, and even the more recent pursuit of their genocide in Europe, the Jews have still retained their distinctive nationality, recognizable identity and traceable ancestry. Reference is made to how, wherever & whenver possible, Jewish communities have still continued in their Jewish lifestyle, religious practicies, traditions, feasts and festivals. The reader is shown how since the Diaspora beginning some 2,000 years ago, at Passover the Jews have optimistically look forward to leaving their homes in exile and celebrating the 'next Passover in Jerusalem', fulfilling the ancient dream of being a free people in their own land. 'Next year in Jerusalem' being the wish of Diaspora Jews, scattered from their homeland yet acknowledging their spiritual and historical home is Israel, specifically, Jerusalem. Psalm 137 referred to as the well-known lament of the Babylonian Jews who wept 'by the rivers of Babylon' and declared, 'If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither....' The attempts throughout history, not least during the Holocaust, to destroy or assimilate the Jewish people are given due attemption. The failure of such being documented. That said the study shows in no uncertain terms that this process of hatred is still ongoing, citing the anti-Semitism in the Arab world and the international community, not forgetting the UN itself. The plight of exiled Jews under both Islam and the Church also receive due recognition. Not least of these are the 'dhimmi' status of Jews in Islamic nations and how the 'Christian' doctrine of 'replacement' theology (where Israel is replaced in Scripture by the Church etc.) gave rise to so much anti-Semitism. The reader receives an aware

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2006

    Clear and Concise

    No modern historian has written a clearer, fairer, or more readable history of the Jews than Paul Johnson

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Unscholarly? I Don't Think So!

    The excellence of this book is widely acknowledged, including by most reviewers here, and I agree with them. I feel compelled to respond to the frivolous and wholly unsupported application of the label "unscholarly" to Johnson's work. The book is deeply researched from scholarly sources. It includes about 50 pages of formal footnotes. Essentially no important assertion made here goes unsupported. This is a hallmark of good scholarship. I also want to point out that Johnson is much more than a historian of events. He is an intellectual historian of the first rank. His ability to elucidate the key ideas of the key thinkers that impacted the events of history is unmatched in my experience. And for this subject especially, that is an essential skill. Finally, the book is rational and well-reasoned. One might disagree with a point here or there, in the sense that reasonable men may differ. But the intelligence with which this book was created should not be insulted and demeaned with labels. The work is certainly readable. It is a real page-turner. I found myself increasingly fascinated, and I feel deeply touched for having read this book. Is readability incompatible with scholarship? Why should it be?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 8, 2010

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