Unity Principle: The Shaping of Jewish History

Overview

This scholarly yet engaging book presents a dynamic interpretation of Jewish history-from biblical to modern times-as a set of interconnected and evolving events and relationships that spring directly from Judaism's core beliefs.

Rivkin explores how monotheism has enabled Jews throughout history to adapt themselves, their communities, and their vision of the Covenant whenever they were confronted by new circumstances or historical forces. This flexibility and redefinition has ...

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Overview

This scholarly yet engaging book presents a dynamic interpretation of Jewish history-from biblical to modern times-as a set of interconnected and evolving events and relationships that spring directly from Judaism's core beliefs.

Rivkin explores how monotheism has enabled Jews throughout history to adapt themselves, their communities, and their vision of the Covenant whenever they were confronted by new circumstances or historical forces. This flexibility and redefinition has time and again ensured Jewish survival and vitality, and placed Jews in the forefront of the modern trend of globalization.

The Unity Principle is newly revised and expanded based on Rivkin's classic work The Shaping of Jewish History.

"This remarkable book captures much of the scope, passion, originality, and incisiveness of an inimitable teacher and cherished mentor who opened new vistas for our understanding of Jewish history-indeed of history itself."

- FROM THE FORWARD BY ROBERT M. SELTZER-Professor of Jewish History at Hunter College and author of Jewish People, Jewish Thought: The Jewish Experience in History.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Ellis Rivkin is Professor Emeritus of Jewish History at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In addition to The Unity Principle, Rivkin's popular writings include What Crucified Jesus? and A Hidden Revolution: The Pharisees' Search for the Kingdom Within.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874411744
  • Publisher: Behrman House, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Pages: 341
  • Sales rank: 1,499,411
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.73 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2011

    No escape

    This work's main thesis is an elegant restatement of the principle, widely adopted by Jews of all stripes, that the child of a Jewish mother is ineluctably Jewish. Judaism is again portrayed as a nationality, not a religion that one chooses. Jewish history is paramount; Jewish theology, nebulous. It doesn't matter if one is secular, atheistic, agnostic, a convert to Buddhism or Christianity or Shintoism: if one's mother was born to Jewish parents, her offspring is embraced by Jews and Gentiles alike as inescapably Jewish. The absence of male circumcision doesn't matter; only tribal identity does. So The Unity Principle smothers all those it can claim in the face of declining religiosity and observance. I find this very depressing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2003

    An elegantly written review of Jewish history

    This distillation of the wisdom gained in a lifetime of scholarly inquiry and teaching by a professor of Jewish history concisely presents complex concepts in a readily comprehensible and elegantly written style. Dr. Rivkin traces the metamorphoses of Jewish concepts of deity throughout the vicissitudes of Jewish historical experience, in the process documenting 'the chosen people's' remarkable capacities for adaptation and survival. Inculcated and nurtured by scholars, priests, and prophets, the Jews' commitment to monotheism has remained constant through mutating prisms of experience and historical process. Indeed, Dr. Rivkin emphasizes, there is no simple or universal Jewish theology, but rather a process of searching for, rather than finding, an omnipotent deity who bestowed humankind with free will and therefore with the capacities for both good and evil. Within this historical perspective, the author finds an underlying unity in the spectrum of Jewish beliefs from those of the ultra-orthodox through those of their secular and non-professing counterparts, and he identifies this unity with the liberating impulses of capitalistic globalization affecting all of humankind that are disproportionately implemented and advanced by urbanized, well-educated intellectuals, professionals, and merchants of Jewish descent. In short, this work constitutes a summary of world history with especial emphasis on the unique contributions made by those schooled in Jewish thought, values, and faith.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2003

    An elegantly written, scholarly review of Jewish history

    This distillation of the wisdom gained in a lifetime of scholarly inquiry and teaching by a professor of Jewish history concisely presents complex concepts in a readily comprehensible and elegantly written style. Dr. Rivkin traces the metamorphoses of Jewish concepts of deity throughout the vicissitudes of Jewish historical experience, in the process documenting 'the chosen people's' remarkable capacities for adaptation and survival. Inculcated and nurtured by scholars, priests, and prophets, the Jews' commitment to monotheism has remained constant through mutating prisms of experience and historical process. Indeed, Dr. Rivkin emphasizes, there is no simple or universal Jewish theology, but rather a process of searching for, rather than finding, an omnipotent deity who bestowed humankind with free will and therefore with the capacities for both good and evil. Within this historical perspective, the author finds an underlying unity in the spectrum of Jewish beliefs from those of the ultra-orthodox through those of their secular and non-professing counterparts, and he identifies this unity with the liberating impulses of capitalistic globalization affecting all of humankind that are disproportionately implemented and advanced by urbanized, well-educated intellectuals, professionals, and merchants of Jewish descent. In short, this work constitutes a summary of world history with especial emphasis on the unique contributions made by those schooled in Jewish thought, values, and faith.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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