"Jewish history is often told not as a narrative of real people with human problems and interests but as an idealized national myth," writes Raymond Scheinlin, in the introduction to his excellent A Short History of the Jewish People
. Scheinlin is an observant Jew, but his book is not a history of the Jewish religion. It is a history of Jewish tribes around the world and the ways "they have interacted with the nations and cultures among whom they have lived, adapting to their environment while retaining a variety of continuities." The book's brevity precludes exhaustiveness, but its focus on particular Jewish communities and its disciplined analysis of their political successes and foibles give readers a firm grasp on the movements in Jewish history that have shaped the Middle East, Europe, and America. Amply illustrated with maps and photographs, the fluid prose of Scheinlin's History
make this book a useful starting point for anyone seeking a secular history of Judaism that is neither skeptical nor hostile to religion. --Michael Joseph Gross
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"[A] well-written, handy little textbook....The book is well supplied with pedagogical aids, including excellent maps, boxes that explore allusions in the text itself in greater depth, a selected bibliography for each chapter, and a thorough index. As such it will be of great use as the first text in introductory surveys of the history of the Jews or the history of Judaism. It will also provide instructors with good foundations upon which to add more detailed material."--Religious Studies Review
"Scheindlin's short book provides a concise and readable summary of more than 3,000 years of Jewish history. It provides the student and general reader with an excellent introduction to the topic."--Marvin Swartz, University of Massachussetts at Amherst
"Scheindlin, a respected Hebrew scholar, cultural historian, noted author and rabbi, undertakes the daunting task of summarizing Jewish history in a concise fashion....In his narrative, ...Scheindlin sheds light on Jewish experience staring with legendary times to today's ongoing Middle East process. He doesn't shy away from problems the world's Jews have faced during their history, but concludes that 'in many ways, the Jewish condition in the present is better than it has been at any time since antiquity."--The Topeka Capital-Journal