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Jews, God, and History

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  • Posted November 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Best History of the Jewish People

    Max I. Dimont's "Jews, God and History" is the best history of the Jewish people. Encompassing 4,000 years of history, from approximately 2,000 B.C. through 1993, "Jews, God and History" is comprehensive in its facts, and magnificent in its prose. Dimont's writing is concise when it should be concise, expansive when it should be expansive, and always intelligent. Dimont's analysis is strikingly original and very sharp. If you care about Jewish history, or world history, you must read this book. Without reading this book, you will not know all of the contributions of the Jewish people to history. "Jews, God and History" is indispensable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2010

    Engrossing account and theory of the history of the Jewish people

    Jews, God and History is a phenomenal work which undertakes the difficult and tedious task of presenting the 4,000 year history of the Jewish people. Instead of presenting this history from an insulated point of view, author Max I. Dimont shows the history of the Jews in the context of the entire world; in the vast tapestry of human history on this planet, the Jewish people are shown to be a strand that makes its way through every corner of the fabric.

    Dimont immediately draws the attention of the reader in his introduction, musing about how such a small population of people have had such influence on the greater world. Some of the most influential people in history were Jews: Moses, Jesus, Paul, Baruch Spinoza, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein. Two of the largest world religions, Christianity and Islam, grew out of Judaism. The Jews introduced to the world the concepts of monotheism, prayer, church, redemption, universal education and charity. Perhaps the most interesting idea that Dimont brings up in his introduction is the age of the Jewish civilization; whereas all the other pagan civilizations that existed at the time have long since disappeared, the Jews are still around today. Dimont goes on to say,

    "The Chinese, Hindu, and Egyptian peoples are the only ones living today who are as old as the Jewish people. But these three civilizations had only one main cultural period, and their impact on succeeding civilizations has not been great. They contained neither the seeds for their own rebirth nor the seeds for the birth of other civilizations. Unlike the Jews, they were not driven out of their countries, nor did they face the problem of survival in alien lands. The Greeks and the Romans are the only other nations which have influenced the history of Western man as profoundly as the Jews. But the people who now dwell in Greece and Italy are not the same as those who dwelt in ancient Hellas and Rome."

    Needless to say, these facts makes the reader wonder "what is so special about the Jews?" and Dimont makes his best effort to answer this question in the most scholarly way possible, even explaining eight different theories on interpreting history and how they apply to the Jewish people.

    Although Dimont uses the Bible as a source for his telling of early Jewish history, he makes it clear that he is approaching the material from a secular standpoint. On the subject of Abraham having a vision from God, Dimont states that the most important part of the encounter is not if God actually appeared to Abraham or if Abraham dreamed up the whole thing; what matters is that Abraham decided that he had a covenant with God, and his descendants continued to have that covenant. Dimont stresses that this point so important that Jewish history is built on it: the covenant that the Jews believed they had with God gave them the will to survive as Jews, which is a main reason why the Jewish people didn't simply disappear into the many civilizations they lived in throughout history.

    In the chapters where he describes the Jewish religion, Dimont really shines. He explains the beliefs, rituals and scholarship in a way that is both accurate and accessible to people completely new to the material. It is in these chapters that he describes a crucial moment in Jewish history: the shifting of the religion from sacrificial...

    [Due to BN.com's character limit, the rest of this review can be found at FingerFlow.com]

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2014

    Ib Objective

    Great read to understand better our jewish history

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