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Imagine John Lennon and the Jews: A Philosophical Rampage Paperback – June 19, 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ze’ev Maghen is a Professor of Arabic Literature and Islamic History and Chairman of the Department of Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University. A senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, he has lectured widely in the United States, Europe, Turkey, Russia, the Ukraine, Uzbekistan, India, Panama, Guatemala, and in Israel, where he lives with his wife and three children in the city of Hod HaSharon. He served in the Tank Corps of the Israel Defense Forces until his discharge in 2005. He was the 1983 International Frisbee Golf Champion (Junior Division).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (June 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453643818
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453643815
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,134,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

This is an extremely original and important book that ought to be read by every Jew, no matter what his or her affiliation or denomination, no matter where she or he stands on the long spectrum between strict religious observance and determined rejection of the same. Maghen -- an American-born Israeli scholar of Islamic law and politics but also something of a Talmid chacham and general know-everything-but-not-in-an-arrogant-way sort of guy -- has literally invented a new genre of writing, aptly self-titled the "rampage," which might best be described as the literary equivalent of three parts strong coffee, two parts Red Bull, and one part nuclear fusion. You pick this thing up and it practically supernovas right in your hand. But if you can hold on, you are in for a heck of a ride.

In a very high-energy and very entertaining way, the book basically addresses the question of why, if you're Jewish, you should be Jewish, i.e. make your Jewishness a central and flourishing part of your identity - despite the fact that stressing your affiliation with an ancient tribe (in effect) seems, in this 21st century, to be not merely inconvenient and outdated but even downright irrational. Why be Jewish, after all, when there are so many other wonderful things you can more easily and contemporaneously and more rationally be: modern, progressive, scientific, secular, non-denominational, multicultural, an American, a European (etc.), or maybe a Citizen of the World, or maybe just an individual human being devoid of labels, period? But Maghen is rightly aware that this sort of question - pressing as it clearly is to large parts of the Jewish community - cannot be properly addressed, without ranging rather not only far and wide but also very deep. So off he goes. And off YOU'LL go.
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Re: John Lennon and the Jews - the sub title describes the book well.
He hardly gives any philosopher a free ride - he ridicules, favours and disects each of them with humour and insight - there are so many layers to this book, that it is truly for very long term enjoyment.
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This is a great book. And, set aside your misgivings from the word "go" - it's not a boring opus that takes you to some antediluvian relative of John L. (or Paul M. for that matter) and tries to explain why Ringo sometimes looks like a... forget it, in short.

And if, like I, you have never really listened to the words of Imagine, I promise that you will be delighted by the book from the beginning. And that it generously provides more and more delights as you continue to read it.

The book's title includes words that may chill the initial enthusiasm and even prevent some careful and shy readers from opening the book. I mean the part where it says: "A Philosophical Rampage". There is no need to be afraid, I swear and promise. It is indeed philosophical, but, as stated, also a rampage, and one that it's a sheer pleasure to participate in. Because (and it's also a promise) participation is practically guaranteed, once you open the book.

It is a rare gift the author of the book is blessed with: the gift of involving the reader, of making him a part of that philosophical endeavor, that exuberant and exhilarating journey through centuries, states, philosophies, beliefs...

Ze'ev Maghen is a master of what Terry Pratchett called "headology". You should be careful too, his first time reader. When it starts to seem to you that the author has all the magic paraphernalia set up for his next conjuring trick and that he is ready to do the trick itself, his thumb and middle finger already coming together for a snap... when you are 100% sure, in short, my dear reader - you should realize that the trick has already happened. About ten or twenty pages ago. Just go back and re-read it...
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