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The Jewish Mystique Hardcover – April 1, 1977


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Stein & Day Pub (April 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812812670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812812671
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an insightful work about Jewish history and character by a non- Jewish author. Van den Haag like Paul Johnson and Thomas Cahill later writes from outside the Jewish experience with real appreciation and understanding. Having read the book many years ago I will simply give one small insight of his. According to Van den Haag the intelligence involved in disproprotionate Jewish contribution to scientific and cultural creation came in part because among the Jews the most intelligent the learned were encouraged to have large families, while in the Christian world the most intelligent were priests and encouraged to be celibate. A counter- argument could be made pointing out the relatively small size of the families of the non- Hasidic Jewish leadership. In any case this is one small example of a book rich with insight and certainly worth reading.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book, mostly because of the fascinating subject matter. Especially chillling were the last two chapters where the author tries to prophesize about the state of american judaism in the year 2000. we are left to judge for oursleves whether he was right or wrong. I reccomend it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paula Crandall on March 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN JEWISH CULTURE AND THE ROLE "THE CHOSEN PEOPLE" HAVE PLAYED IN WORLD HISTORY, THIS LITERATE, WRY AND AMUSING OVERVIEW IS FASCINATING. I FIRST READ IT IN THE '60'S AFTER HAVING MOVED INTO A PREDOMINATELY JEWISH COMMUNITY AND WANTED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MY NEIGHBORS. THIS WAS THE PERFECT CHOICE AND ITS AUTHOR WAS A PROFESSOR IN NEW YORK CITY NEAR MY HOME. I TRACKED HIM DOWN AND TOLD HIM HOW MUCH I HAD ENJOYED IT AND WE HAD A DELIGHTFUL CONVERSATION THAT ENRICHED WHAT I'D ALREADY LEARNED. IT'S A BOOK OF ITS TIME IN SOME WAYS, BUT, SINCE IT CHRONICLES THE PAST AND PRESENT OF OVER 5,000 YEARS, THAT'S JUST AN INTERESTING FOOTNOTE. THIS COPY REPLACES ONE THAT GOT LOST IN A SUBSEQUENT MOVE.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hibernating Hummingbird on September 14, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Why are Jews smarter than Catholics ? Because Catholicism is a religion of Pork-Barrel-Sacrifice, while among Jews the-best-have-more-babies. Anyway Haag makes this point up-front in the first few pages of the book, and the review-author knows of no more concisely elegant description of this distinction, having stumbled across the book via Google, but not claiming exhaustive literacy on this.

The first part of the argument is that in primitive times, religious study was a primary way of expressing intelligence - there being no technology as of yet. Among Catholics, the best students became celibate priests. Among Jews, the best students became rabbis, AND RABBIS WERE ENCOURAGED TO MAKE BABIES.

This basic theme of course continues today. A lot of bright folks choose to become doctors, but medical school is a lengthy process - therefore doctors don't seem to have especially many babies themselves. Garrett Hardin's commonism, the doctrine of outcome-equalization, that an indiscriminate nation-or-world-wide-pork-barrel should in particular redistribute the benefits of medicine - this makes medicine or at least the doctrine of a universal-medical-insurance-pork-barrel analogous to Catholicism, hmm ? The review-author belongs to no church, is not Jewish, not a Doctor, parents were Unitarian.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A reader on December 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In today's politically correct culture, 'The Jewish Mystique' might be considered inappropriate. Written almost fifty years ago, it attempts to give insight into the commonly held beliefs, tendencies, quirks and stereotypes typical to the Jewish people.

For instance, it examines the Jewish reverence for education, how they feel about and interact with non-Jews, their belief systems, their fears and obsessions, their general hangups and pet peeves, their 'Jewishness' which is perhaps central to who and what they are ......Since a work such as this would be unthinkable in this day and age, the glimpse it provides into the collective psyche of this great but tortured people is rather rare.

Yet, a glimpse is all this book really provides given its superficial approach to such a complex subject. The Talmud, for instance, is only mentioned about twice throughout the entire book and even then only in passing. Perhaps the hatred and vitriol spewed throughout its thousands of pages, its racist and contemptuous references to the 'goyim' was too much for the author to explain away as he seems to do about many other aspects of Jewish character - their love of Communism, their weakness for its totalitarian thinking and ideas, their ongoing rejection of Western Christian civilization, their chronic, almost obsessive hatred of Jesus Christ - all of which he fobs off in a very subjective and casual manner without any references or footnotes which left me, as someone seeking answers, feeling cheated.

One thing is clear, however, and that is the enigmatic nature of the Jewish people themselves.
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