The Jews: A History / Edition 1

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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 in The Jews many familiar names, in its pages will also be found a broader spectrum of people: mothers, children, workers, students, artists, and radicals whose perspectives greatly expands the story of Jewish life from ancient times to the present.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Jews is well written, conceptually clear, lively, interesting, and informative. It strikes just the right balance between sketching out the major issues and providing enough detail so that students who have no background can fully understand the main point. The authors understand all the major issues in Jewish history and are capable of presenting those issues in a clear and engaging manner."

-- Marsha Rozenblit, University of Maryland

The Jews is a highly accessible, attractive, and lively account of the fortunes, failures, and accomplishments of the Jews from biblical times to the present. It is distinguished by the attention it gives to average Jews and to everyday life. Drawing upon the special expertise of the authors, it seeks, above all, to understand and to explain a complex history. Without going into excessive detail, it makes the reader aware of continuing controversies of interpretation and cites from sources that are of special interest.”

-- Michael Meyer, Hebrew Union College

“This is a superb, wide-ranging, and well-written book. The task at hand is an exceptionally difficult one, given the wide varieties and geographic dispersion of Jews throughout the world. To pull together the various strands is a great challenge. With admirable skill, the authors have succeeded in doing so–indeed, in producing perhaps the best single volume on the Jewish experience.”

-- David Myers, University of California Los Angeles

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131786875
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 7/17/2008
  • Series: MySearchLab Series 15% off Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 910,562
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Table of Contents

The Jews: A History

John Efron, Joshua Holo, Matthias Lehmann and Steven Weitzman

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Ancient Israel and other Ancestors

Chapter 2 Becoming the People of the Book

Chapter 3 Jews and Greeks, Jews in Greek

Chapter 4 Between Caesar and God

Chapter 5 Rabbinic Revelations

Chapter 6 Under the Crescent

Chapter 7 Under the Cross

Chapter 8 A Jewish Renaissance

Chapter 9 New Worlds, East and West

Chapter 10 The State of the Jews, Jews and the State

Chapter 11 Modern Transformations

Chapter 12 The Politics of Being Jewish

Chapter 13 A World Upended

Chapter 14 The Holocaust

Chapter 15 Difficult Freedoms



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