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The Sacred Chain: The History of the Jews

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  25 ratings  ·  4 reviews
An important, controversial account of the history of the Jewish people that is both scholarly and compulsively readable.
Paperback, 478 pages
Published 1996 by FortanaPress (first published 1994)
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Having (finally) completed this important history, I can see why it caused so much controversy in the Jewish community. Beyond challenging long-held myths about Jewish origins with anthropological evidence (or lack thereof) and academic rigor, Cantor's pessimistic take on the inevitable decline of a Jewish identity because of "racial suicide" (translation = intermarriage) and a lack of religious leadership is powerful stuff. As an atheist Jew (that takes her cultural heritage seriously)that is m ...more
This book is interesting if you are used to social histories. It is written by a professor who is very much into academics and quotes other professor like the readers should already know who is who. he has the attitude that he is the authority. He doesn't given a favorable view of the beginnings of the Christian church with Jesus and the 12 apostles, but then he is Jewish and this is a Jewish history. But I am learning a lot.
This is a whirlwind of a book, thick with the contradictory history of the Jews, demolishing once and for all the monolithic stereotypes and orthodox mythologies while nevertheless maintaining a contour around the Jewsih peoples as a whole.
This book is SO bad that I am choosing not to finish it!
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Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Cantor received his B.A. at the University of Manitoba in 1951. He went on to get his master's degree in 1953 from Princeton University and spent a year as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. He received his doctorate from Princeton in 1957 under the direction of the eminent medievalist Joseph R. Strayer.

After teaching at Princeton, Cantor moved to Columbia Univ
More about Norman F. Cantor...
In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made The Civilization of the Middle Ages Inventing the Middle Ages Antiquity The Last Knight: The Twilight of the Middle Ages and the Birth of the Modern Era

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