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The Chosen Few: How Education Shaped Jewish History, 70-1492 (Princeton Economic History of the Western World)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  55 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
In 70 CE, the Jews were an agrarian and illiterate people living mostly in the Land of Israel and Mesopotamia. By 1492 the Jewish people had become a small group of literate urbanites specializing in crafts, trade, moneylending, and medicine in hundreds of places across the Old World, from Seville to Mangalore. What caused this radical change? The Chosen Few presents a new ...more
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published August 5th 2012 by Princeton University Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Shh! Don't let the American Nazi Party learn about this book!! Seriously! The first chapter would earn a 5 star review, but then...? Disaster. It verifies all the anti-Jewish people who believe that Jews manipulate everything, and have more money than God, as it was once said to me. Well, money I don't have and never did, and certainly never will. I was a child of Jewish immigrants from Ukraine, a descendant of blacksmiths, tailors, leatherworkers--and farmers, many of whom were also Jewish ...more
Magus Arcis
Sep 25, 2016 Magus Arcis rated it it was amazing
An innovative point of view about the cause of jewish supremacy
Jun 04, 2015 Yiye rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I read on this topic and I love it.

I was a little put off at the beginning, when the authors put forward their arguments. It's a big challenging for me to follow the names of so many ancient periods without a good knowledge of the history.

But the arguments were very well researched and articulated. They've done tons of research.

It's interesting to learn that a shift in this religion before the century - Jewish man is obligated to study Talmud and is required to send jewis
Charles Cohen
Sep 19, 2012 Charles Cohen rated it really liked it
I know nothing about economics, so I can't speak to the accuracy of their theory, or whether it even makes sense. But as someone who feels responsible for thinking about the future of the Jewish people on a daily basis, specifically w/r/t the cost of living Jewishly, this book stokes many of the concerns I have - essentially, the Jewish population declined dramatically between 70 CE and 630CE because Jewish education cost too much, and didn't have a whole lot of utility for an economy based on ...more
Steve Gross
Nov 10, 2012 Steve Gross rated it it was amazing
Excellent, thought-provoking book with a new economic theory to answer three puzzles of Jewish history: 1) There were one million Jews in the year 0; why aren't more Jews today? 2) Why did Jews go from farmers in the Talmudic period to merchants and craftsmen? 3) Why did Jews migrate to Europe and North Africa? A new and substantial way to answer these questions that has large implications for the Jewish future.
Jul 06, 2013 Murtaza rated it really liked it
A great narrative on Jewish history, extensively researched and compellingly written. Will be loved by Philo-Semites and those with a general interest in Jewish communities around the world; provides a good overview as well for those unfamiliar with Jewish history.
Trung Thieu
Jan 26, 2015 Trung Thieu rated it really liked it
an informative book about Israeli from the 1st century till the end of the fifteenth century.
There's another book from the fifteenth century to the modern world.
However, I'm still considering to read the new one or not because the writing style does not match me.
Bader Alhashel
Sep 12, 2014 Bader Alhashel rated it it was amazing
The book present a theory on why the Jewish people are highly educated. The theory is a very interesting one and the authors present very good evidence supporting this theory. The evidence would eventually take you on a trip through over 1400 years in which you see how the Jewish people evolved .
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