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The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties (Hellenistic Culture & Society)

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  40 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
In modern times, various Jewish groups have argued whether Jewishness is a function of ethnicity, of nationality, of religion, or of all three. These fundamental conceptions were already in place in antiquity. The peculiar combination of ethnicity, nationality, and religion that would characterize Jewishness through the centuries first took shape in the second century B.C. ...more
Paperback, 441 pages
Published January 17th 2001 by University of California Press (first published January 2nd 1999)
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Sarah
Mar 16, 2015 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: uni-reads
After reading the book for my comprehensive exams and directed research, I really don't think Cohen's argument stands strong. I do not think at the conclusion of his book that we can look at any person at any point in history and call them a Jew or not.

His entire book basically leads to no real conclusion. Do we know when someone was a Jew or not - No. Do Jews do things that set them apart in history - No. He also seems to spend a really long time discussing circumcision, for really no reason. C
...more
Lee
Dec 11, 2009 Lee rated it it was amazing
the best take on jewish identity i've read to date, cohen puts his rabbinic background and anthropological know-how to good use, drawing solid conclusions after considering everything and anything between 70 C.E. and 1980 C.E. much like my thesis. must be coincidence.
Robyn
Jul 07, 2007 Robyn rated it really liked it
despite the fact that Shaye appears to be perpetually perplexed by the penis... this is a good read...

for a laugh, check out Neusner's review on ATLA.
Craig J.
"The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties (Hellenistic Culture and Society) by Shaye J. D. Cohen (2001)"
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