By Simon Schama
In this magnificently illustrated cultural history—the tie-in to the PBS and BBC sequence The tale of the Jews—Simon Schama information the tale of the Jewish event, tracing it throughout 3 millennia, from their beginnings as an historical tribal humans to the hole of the hot international in 1492 to the fashionable day.
It is a narrative like no different: an epic of persistence opposed to destruction, of creativity in oppression, pleasure amidst grief, the confirmation of lifestyles opposed to the steepest of odds.
It spans the millennia and the continents—from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes you to unimagined locations: to a Jewish nation within the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue gleaming with radiant wall work; the palm groves of the Jewish lifeless within the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and transparent, from the severities and ecstasies of the Bible writers to the affection poems of wine bibbers in a backyard in Muslim Spain.
In The tale of the Jews, the Talmud burns within the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hold over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the realm; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with spice and gem stones founder at sea.
And an excellent tale unfolds. Not—as frequently imagined—of a tradition aside, yet of a Jewish international immersed in and imprinted via the peoples between whom they've got dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians.
Which makes the tale of the Jews everyone's tale, too.
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Additional info for The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BC - 1492 AD
And the monarchs had calculated, safely, that the worth of every little thing they can grab, confiscate and understand, in particular estate, might hugely exceed what may perhaps conceivably be misplaced within the tax sales provided by way of the Jews. probably, even though, there's timid, lowly souls who may need a few nervousness concerning the surprising disappearance of physicians, shopkeepers, a responsible resource of loans, such ignominious issues. they'd to be reminded that the mere lifestyles of the Jews of their midst constituted not only an offence yet a mortal danger.
Yet he got here dangerously as regards to it in a second of mock-innocent satire whilst he provided a paraphrase of the hot testomony narrative. ‘It turns out a bit odd,’ he drolly ventured, ‘that the writer of Heaven and Earth must have repaired to the womb of a definite Jewish lady the place he grew for 9 months, used to be duly born as an youngster, grew, used to be betrayed to his enemies and achieved, restored to lifestyles and to his position . . . The brain of a Jew, or for that topic somebody else, easily can't tolerate such assertions.
The objectives of Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s public proclamations of Torah Rule have been accurately neighborhood survivors suspected of buying ‘foreign’ cult practices in addition to ‘foreign’ better halves. the reality was once that it used to be the fierce ‘Yahweh on my own’ book-fixed monotheism that used to be the newness, no longer the ancestral conduct of holding a bit, full-breasted fire goddess figurine at domestic or in greater homes even a small uninscribed status stone. however the Ezra–Nehemiah exclusivism now held co-religionists to the next stricter general, and so they offered their model of YHWH worship as having continuously been that challenging, even supposing this was once traditionally no longer the case.
Sixty three From Seneca to the playwright Martial and the satirist Juvenal, the refrains have been, and remained, depressingly predictable. even supposing Judaism were formally declared a religio licita, a tolerated faith, writers like Tacitus could insist on its being extra within the nature of a low and degraded superstitio. sixty four Socially, it was once acknowledged that Jews have been misanthropes who sedulously stored themselves except the remainder of society, refusing to consume with them, or (in a reversal of the Greek stereotype), regardless of their infamous habit to lust, sleep with girls of different countries.
This made them effortless prey for bandits, in addition to the host of individuals in an ideal place to use and prey on them: frontier guards (on each side) who needed to be bribed even supposing there has been not anything to pay them with, except the few possessions that they had introduced alongside. usually, once they arrived at go out ports, tough negotiations needed to be transacted with unscrupulous captains, and whereas they awaited area at the ships, the Jews camped and slept in fields the place at evening they turned a mark for neighborhood gangs of robbers.