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A History of Judaism

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  14 reviews
A panoramic history of Judaism from its origins to the present

Judaism is by some distance the oldest of the three Abrahamic religions. Despite the extraordinarily diverse forms it has taken, the Jewish people have believed themselves bound to God by the same covenant for more than three thousand years. This book explains how Judaism came to be and how it has developed from
Hardcover, 656 pages
Published October 26th 2017 by Allen Lane
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 ·  128 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Justin Evans
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-etc
Very well done indeed--Goodman's book is structured a little oddly, but once you get used to that (one overview chapter per section followed by a series of deeper dives), there's nothing to hold you back. If, like me, you've got pieces of this history floating around your mind, but no way to organize them, this will give you one way to organize them. I'm particularly impressed that he consciously avoided turning this into an all-roads-lead-to-Auschwitz story, but also doesn't minimize the pogrom ...more
Margaret Heller
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, religion
Read this for Library Journal, and I really liked this one.
Reid Heller
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Martin Goodman's History of "Judaism" (Judaism! not Jews, not Jewish People) is the finest single volume history of Jews and Judaism I have read to date. I can't compare it to Salo Baron's magisterial Social and Religious History of the Jews, but it belongs on any shelf of superb narrative histories. It synthesizes and distills an enormous body of modern scholarship into a clear and pleasing narrative free of schmaltz and scholarly pilpul. Any work of this kind is by definition incomplete, but t ...more
Yoav Regev
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book that goes in depth to the many stories and characters involved in the history of this religion. I'm Jewish and I must say that all those Jewish and Hebrew terms will probably be a bit confusing for those who weren't born Jewish. All in all, it reminded me that religion is incredibly out dated and a human invention. ...more
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Its sweep encompasses enough that you will feel grounded - given a framework for further inquiry and the means to test that framework. The depth of treatment given to Judaism in the antique period is not matched in the contemporary world, with particularly thin treatment of non-European Judaism after the middle ages. But very worthwhile.
Benjamin Siegel
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
An gripping, superlative read as far as antiquity to the medieval world are concerned, but he really phones in the early modern and modern.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As advertised, an exploration into the history of Judaism from the Second Temple Period until the modern day.

The author is very thorough; he begins with Josephus and works through what can be known about Second Temple Judaism, and does not spend much time attempting to ascertain what might have come before it. Over a third of the work is dedicated to this early story.

He then covers Roman and early medieval period, the late medieval period, the early modern era, and we are introduced to the mode
David Mytton
I suspect this book is not really aimed at mainstream, general readers. It reads much more like an academic work that explains the history of Judaism in detail. This is quite different, although related, from a history of Jews as a people, and so focuses much more on the religion itself. This includes the various sub-groups and types of Judaism, where they came from and how they have developed.

Given the level of detail, it makes for difficult reading. I found the history quite difficult to follo
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a monumental work! I learned so much from this book, though there were sections I skimmed, rather than read thoroughly. It was expertly researched and documented, however, and though it was scholarly in nature, it was still accessible.

It was interesting to me also in the respect that the author is British, rather than American, so there was what I consider a more worldly and broader view.

I would have to say that breaking it down into two volumes might make it more appealing, and less overw
Guillaume Lapointe-Gagner
Can't really give this a star rating. Read more like a textbook than a casual read on Judaism - that is to say, it was super dense and difficult to get through. It was also more a history of the religion (i.e. different branching sects of Judaism and interpretations) rather than a history of the Jewish people, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. ...more
Ryan Huckabay
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great insights on the Jewish faith. The deep study and research done by Goodman comes through in a clear and readable way. Insightful resource to learn about the deep history of the Jewish Religion.
Jan De Meulder
May 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Very deep and (sometimes a bit too) extensive. Structure not always clear.
Richard J Dew
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Very comprehensive and detailed. Which makes it a tough read! But interesting
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Martin David Goodman is a historian and writer on Roman history and the history of the Jews in the Roman period.

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