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A Short History of the Jewish People: From Legendary Times to Modern Statehood

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  293 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Where did the Jews come from? How did they retain their strong sense of community through centuries of dispersion? How have the Jews of the present, with their proud ethnic identity and thriving national home, emerged out of the downtrodden Jews of the past? Such questions arise naturally in the minds of anyone contemplating the long history of Jewish people. In one concis ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 27th 2000 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1998)
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Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book for an overview of Jewish history, and that's exactly what I got from it! The author does make a point not to delve into Judaism itself, other than to mention the various types of Judaism and when they came into existence, so this is not a book for exploring Judaic theology. In a small amount of space, the author covers over 2000 years of world history as it relates to the Jews, so there were times when I wanted more details and had to go look them up elsewhere. There were ...more
Kyra Boisseree
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-class, jewish-lit
I actually really enjoyed this! It gave me a lot of basic background information to fiction I've read, as well as filling in the large gaps in my general knowledge of Jewish history (which has previously been mostly Biblical and 20th century). I'm excited to check out some of the books listed in the bibliography in the future. ...more
Meg Briers
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-non-fiction
A nice easy introduction to the history of Jewish people (not the Jewish religion), an eye opener for sure, with good sized digestible chapters.
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Não consigo terminar o livro. Apesar do tema ser muito interessante e o autor fazer uma abordagem exaustiva à história do povo judeu, falhou na concretização da escrita. Entendo que seja um exercício complexo escrever em 400 páginas tanta história, mas a narrativa anda para a frente e para trás na linha temporal e é difícil acompanhar o raciocínio.
Por agora volta para a estante, sairá quando sentir coragem para pegar nele novamente.
Ryan Uyehara
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Clear, concise, accessible and in its brevity, it gives you an even deeper appreciation of the grand scope of Jewish history.
Masha Vorochkova
May 11, 2019 rated it liked it
"...Let me speak of my big daughter Bellet.
Thirteen she was, and shy as a bride;
Knew all the prayers and hymns from her mother-
Modest, pious, lovely, and clever.
Modeled herself, pretty girl, on her mother,
Making my bed, taking my shoes off at night.
Handy at housework was Bellet, and honest;
Served God, spun, sewed, and embroidered.
Pious, faultless, always well-meaning-
She would sit quietly, listening, as I discoursed on Torah…
She was killed with her mother and her sister on the night of the
Aug 29, 2020 rated it liked it
The title of this volume identifies this as an ambitious undertaking indeed ... more than 4,000 years of history in 263 pages. It is, by its very nature, broad stroke history told densely. Viewed from 10,000 feet, the centuries, even the millenniums, fly by. Despite attempts to humanize it, this is mainly a political history and subject to the dryness that implies.

It is only when we get to the post World War II years that this history shines. In part this is because these are the years and pers
Sarah Blakeney
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a great way to be introduced to Jewish history. Although it was a little hard to follow in the beginning, overall the author did a wonderful job laying everything out in a clear way and explaining everything clearly and concisely.
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book concisely chronicles the history of the Jewish people, highlighting their unique history and outstanding stories and perseverance. It is beautifully written, highly informative, and eye opening to the reality of the global minority. A perfectly satisfying read.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well rounded introduction to long history. For Judaisms class
Mickey Hernandez
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Great introduction to Jewish history. Birds eye view of ancient Judaism to Jewish culture post-holocaust. Good read that includes recommendations for further reading.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great and Concise
Andy Gagnon
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very illuminating.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was very informative, and I'm glad I read it. Still, I have two major gripes:

1) It is too short. Sure, it literally says so in the title, and I knew the number of pages when I started. Nevertheless, the format didn't work for me. There is no thread to tie together the various narratives, and not enough anecdotal hooks to help you remember what happened where. I ended up spending a lot of time on Wikipedia trying to make sense of the myriad of references to important historical episodes
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
A Short History of the Jewish People signifies its strength in the title. In about 250 pages, Scheindlin acquaints the reader enough with over 2000 years of history that he will feel he has a stronger grasp on the book's subject than most citizens. But because any single chapter could form the basis for a book in itself, any reader will crave certain additional details. For example, the author intentionally avoids discussing actual Judaic religion, viewing them throughout as a people. But he doe ...more
Hope Rozenboom
Apr 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a concise, informative history of the Jewish people from the Biblical period of the patriarchs to 1998 when it was published. As the author clarifies in the introduction, the book looks at the history of the Jewish people, rather than providing a history of the Jewish religion. It was interesting to read from a secular/historical perspective the Bible stories I grew up learning in Sunday School. What I found most beneficial was the summary of the events leading up to and since the creati ...more
Jan 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book offers a well organized and concise history of the Jewish people. Each chapter, and sometimes pages and paragraphs, reveal histories that some have chosen to devote a lifetime to studying. As with most well-written historical works, it leaves the reader with a greater understanding of modern politics through its multicultural review of historical motives and perceptions whose history is evident in the diplomatic challenges of today's world. ...more
Jun 21, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: history nonrepeaters
quite a useful capsule (well 250pg capsule) history. the succinct nature of the book leads to some surreality ("and in 1011, the Jewish community of York committed mass suicide") and funny asides. but seriously, i didn't know all kinds of basic stuff about who moved where and when and why, and now i know. ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jewish, nonfiction
Very informative and comprehensive, although the amount of information and the sometimes confusing non-chronology of it got a bit weary. Overall, a fantastic overview for anybody beginning their study of Judaism.
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good introduction, but far too short to really be useful on its own.
Jul 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Excellent short and heart felt history of Jews
May 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I found this to be a good history telling of the Jewish People. It is interesting to learn about all the varied Jewish communities which have developed and the parallel evolution in different region.
May 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
a book given to me by yonatan as a shorter, better option to 'a history of the jews' by paul johnson. ...more
Robert Allen
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Solid. Exactly what it is advertised to be.
An interesting and easy read.
Elyse P
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very informative and easy to read. It is in fact a "short" history, but it's an overview that packs an educational punch and is very well written. ...more
rated it liked it
Jul 29, 2016
Laura Labedz
rated it it was amazing
Mar 26, 2018
Charlie Ackerly
rated it liked it
Mar 23, 2014
Ron Gelber
rated it it was amazing
Oct 20, 2014
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Raymond P. Scheindlin is professor of Medieval Hebrew Literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary and director of JTS's Shalom Spiegel Institute of Medieval Hebrew Poetry. He has been on the JTS faculty since 1974 and served as provost from 1984 to 1988.

Dr. Scheindlin teaches and conducts research on the encounter of Hebrew and Arabic cultures in Spain, especially as embodied in the poetry of t

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