WorldPerfect: The Jewish Impact on Civilization

Overview

In pursuit of an answer to the question of what would constitute a perfect world, author Ken Spiro questioned more than 1,500 people of various backgrounds and religions. His findings revealed six core elements: Respect for human life; peace and harmony; justice and equality; education; family; and social responsibility. He then set off on a journey to find out why these were such common goals across cultural, economic, social and racial lines, and in the process, traced the ...

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WorldPerfect: The Jewish Impact on Civilization

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Overview

In pursuit of an answer to the question of what would constitute a perfect world, author Ken Spiro questioned more than 1,500 people of various backgrounds and religions. His findings revealed six core elements: Respect for human life; peace and harmony; justice and equality; education; family; and social responsibility. He then set off on a journey to find out why these were such common goals across cultural, economic, social and racial lines, and in the process, traced the history of the development of world religions, values and ethics.

As a rabbi, he paid particular attention to how Judaism impacted, and was influenced by, the course of these developments. The result is a highly readable and well-documented book about the origins of values and virtues in Western civilization as influenced by the Greeks, Romans, Christians, Muslims and, most significantly, the Jews.

The history of religion, presented in Spiro’s highly readable style, is a fascinating and timely subject, especially in today’s volatile religious climate. Spiro divides his book into five engaging parts:

  • Where the Quality of Mercy Was Not Strained: The World of Greece and Rome
  • Against the Grain: The Jewish View
  • A Father to Many Nations: Abraham and the Implications of Monotheism
  • With Sword and Fire: The Rise of Christianity and Islam
  • The New Promised Land: Impact of Judaism on Liberal Democracies

Readers of all faiths will find that the elements of a perfect world can only be achieved by a common understanding of our mutual backgrounds and that our diverse religions are all merely branches growing from one single tree.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780757300561
  • Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/3/2002
  • Pages: 356
  • Sales rank: 501,210
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Spiro is a rabbi and dynamic lecturer. He holds a Master of Arts degree in history and a bachelor of arts degree in Russian language and literature. He developed the acclaimed seminar "WorldPerfect: The Jewish Impact on Civilization," which brings Jewish history alive for thousands of people each year.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction xiii
Part I Where the Quality of Mercy Was Not Strained: The World of Greece and Rome 1
1. Horror Show 5
2. War Makes the World Go 'Round 17
3. Even-Handed Injustice 25
4. Ignorance As Bliss 37
5. Sex and Sensibility 43
6. Far from the Madding Crowd 55
7. No Better, No Worse 59
8. Conclusions: Part I 67
Part II Against the Grain: The Jewish View 69
9. He Who Saves One Life Saves the World 75
10. When the Lion Lies Down with the Lamb 79
11. Justice, Justice You Shall Pursue 85
12. Reading, Writing and Torah 91
13. God, Mom and Apple Pie 97
14. Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses 103
15. Conclusions: Part II 109
Part III A Father to Many Nations: Abraham and the Implications of Monotheism 113
16. Keeping Up with the Morality of the Joneses 117
17. A Strange Man with a Strange Idea 123
18. One for All and All for One 129
19. Beauty and the Beast of Greece 147
20. When in Rome Do As the Greeks Do 157
21. Conclusions: Part III 173
Part IV With Sword and Fire: The Rise of Christianity and Islam 179
22. The Religion Revolution 183
23. The Forgotten Children of Abraham 191
24. Gloomy Ages 203
25. A Spark in the Dark 217
26. Conclusions: Part IV 227
Part V The New Promised Land: The Impact of Judaism on Modern Democracies 229
27. The Puritans Are Coming 233
28. America the Beautiful 245
29. Fanning the Flames of Freedom 257
30. The Best of the Rest 265
31. Conclusions: Part V 271
Notes 279
Bibliography 313
Index 325
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2005

    Spiro's book

    Every college student would be well-served by reading this book and having the bibliographical sources to pursue many other tangents and questions that this book asks us to consider. As an adult who is considering going through the conversion process to Judiasm, this book answers many questions as to the mindset of the first century Jews and clearly demonstrates the ethical superiority of Judiasm for centuries in the basic areas of human rights that we take for granted in the United States in the 21st. century. Further, it reveals the day-to-day atrocities that were committed in Greco-Roman times and causes one to think that mankind would have been far better served by living in a world ruled by the Torah as opposed to any other alternative I can think of. Beautiful ruins and abstract philosophy seem far less important than an evenly applied code of ethical behavior. For me, this book breathes new life into the ancient world and Western Civilization as a whole. It is a catalyst for many lines of inquiry and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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