The Invention of the Jewish People

by ,

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All modern nation states have a story of their origins, passed down through both official and popular culture, and yet few of these accounts have proved as divisive and influential as the Israeli national myth. The well-known tale of Jewish exile at the hands of the Romans during the first century AD, and the assertion of both cultural and racial continuity through to the Jewish people of the present day, resonates far beyond Israels borders. Despite its use as a justification for Jewish settlement in Palestine and the ...

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May 21, 2010

getting the facts straight

This book sets out to disabuse the reader of the notion that the israelis are the biological/national descendants of the Biblical Israelites. It separately covers Sephardim, Ashkenazim and Mizrahim, and in one section follows the Biblical Israelites (called, for reasons explained, "Judeans") down to the modern Palestinians. The book is full of interesting information, but does not emphasize the missionary nature of Biblical Israel. The explanation of how we got the misunderstanding that "Jews" are biological descendants of the Biblical Israelites is rather complicated and, I think, a little weak, but it will do till a better explanation comes up. I think the book would have come out rather differently had a Christian written it - for instance, Sand ignores the long Christian history of the Palestinians. Also, I suspect that the Bible is more accurate than here supposed about the relation of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel.

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