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Showing 1-10 of 141 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 265 reviews
on January 21, 2017
he's making too many assumptions about viewer knowledge. an initial overview with a chronological narrative about how it all started, would have been helpful. key narratives. for example : abraham, the covenant, sara, hagar, ismael, isaac, moses, salomon, david, babylon, rome, spain, sephardi diaspora , 1491, ( northern africa, spain, portugal, with main cities, ashkenazi diaspora with main cities (northern italy, alscace, rhine, poland, russia france, ) dreyfuss, herzl, hitler, european antisemitism. then do his thing.
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on November 24, 2015
As a Jewish Studies scholar, I find this 5-part documentary incredibly clever and insightful. Simon Schama is a great and engaging storyteller who makes the content relatable and relevant, weaving many historical periods to help the viewer understand what it means to be a Jew. The breadth of his knowledge that he condenses into a small amount of time, is mesmerizing. And at no point does he sound like he's dumbing down the knowledge, he explains it in digestible bits that anyone, whether, Jewish or not, can understand. I have watched every episode several times and every time I find something new and something I like.
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on April 2, 2017
Unfortunately there are a few glitches on the video and audio recording. Perhaps this indicates poor editing or just sloppy copying/reproduction of the discs.
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on December 19, 2016
In a few programs, Simon Schama sums up the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the People of the Book. It is at once Prof. Schama's deeply personal story of his Jewish journey as well as the story of a people seeking safety to worship. It does not flounder on Biblical narrative but rather tells on the Story of the Jews through time, concentrating on a few key points, a few key people. It is wonderful
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on December 21, 2016
It gives a good summary of the Jewish people after the Diaspora. It is very informative. Mr. Schama is very passionate about "The Story". He doesn't seem to be a man of faith, but he gives a good account of this history and is open and honest about his point of view. It would take a lot of study to pull all of this information together so nicely as he does,
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on June 24, 2016
Simon does a very good job at describing the brilliance of the Jewish people and their tragedies. Where he goes wrong is when he attributes usury to being forbidden in Christianity. Come on, Simon! There are many passages in the Hebrew Scriptures forbidding usury including the prophets! Next, Paul did not say the Jews as a nation had murdered YAH'SHUA. In fact, Paul's letter to the Romans and throughout the NT, shows how much Paul loved his people and wanted their salvation. He always went to synagogues first, prayed in the Temple and celebrated all the Jewish holidays.
When Simon mentions the Trinity, he is out of his depth. In "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis, a very descriptive essay is given explaining (as far as one can), the Trinity.
I fully agree with Simon about John Chrysostom's jealously toward the Jews, for that is what is was (and is) with all people who hate the Jews. So my Father told me when I was quite young.
Finally, Simon's utter outrage and profound grief about Israel's struggle for survival right up to the present day come shining through and I fully share both emotions. There is absolutely no excuse for Jews or anyone to be persecuted for their beliefs or lack thereof and 2000+ years of persecution by the churches did help bring about the Shoah.
The Jews have a right to have Israel as their nation. They belong there and they are an example to the nations as long as they remember justice and mercy. They are intelligent enough to live peacefully side by side with Palestinians, Muslim or Christian. And as Paul wrote, "God's call to the Jews is irrevocable." YAH'SHUA said, "salvation comes from the Jews." Gentiles are invited because God wants salvation for all. We are all Jews!
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on June 24, 2016
Well known as "not a history but a story," this story mixes histories, cultures, places, peoples, and different views of it all, particularly in the last segment, Return. Schama is an accessible and irresistible intellectual, and he never forgets the emotional signifiers of the moments he presents.
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on July 21, 2016
I was once told by one of my professors that when deciding which session to attend at a conference, go with people not topics. Schama is an excellent example of this point. He never ceases to get me interested in whatever it is he is discussing. I can wait to see the Power of Art.
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on May 12, 2014
Schama does his usual good job of focusing on ideas not events. He is not afraid to draw conclusions from the events described.

Explains the powerful effect of the Torah and Talmud, the written words, on the entire Jewish history. The power of writing, reading, teaching, learning, arguing, remembering, connects the Jews to a past and affects the present Jewish world like no other people. Schama highlights the Hebrew writing and books as the key motor of Jewish culture.

Excellent coverage of the effect on Jewish life in Western Europe during the enlightenment. Moses Mendelssohn and his grandson, Felix, were celebrated examples of the promise of the new trust in "Reason". Sadly, it didn't last. Uses Wagner's attack on Meyerbeer, his mentor, to illustrate the death of that ideal. Nationalism became the goal of art and Wagner was the leading light of this new "religion". This was in the German world, in France, the betrayal of Dreyfus convulsed the culture for decades.

Schama is deeply moved by the sad sufferings of his people for centuries. Provides specific examples. Anyone should by touched along with him. Explains the movement of the Jews out of Spain, into Eastern Europe, the start of the pale, the immigration to America and the reason for the state of Isreal. Notes the role of the British and the UN in the start of modern Isreal.

Interesting interview with religious Zionist. Explains why Schama disagrees with his view. Covers the effect of the Jews in expelling the Arabs from their own country.

Schama explains the reasons why he is a Zionist. Develops the history of Zionism and some of the major players. Demonstrates the current tension due to the separation of Jews and Arabs.

He ends with a poignant commentary that the current narrow nationalistic basis of Isreal does not correctly reflect the real values of Jewish history. He feels the Jews need to embrace the world not separate from it.

Schama, even though a loyal Jew, is a historian and has a broad historical vista. He expresses the sense that anger and bitterness, even though having valid causes from the past, do not produce the best decisions in the present.

I enjoyed the presentation. Specific. Well organized. Accessible to all age groups. Explains the reason for the conflicts in a clear, easy to follow manner.
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on August 17, 2014
I have such respect for Simon Schama's work. This series is another achievement and testament to his usual attention to detail and insights. It was also more personal, as he said at the beginning, for this was also a history of Simon Schama's ancestry. While the long history of persecution is painful and troubling to hear about, Schama didn't focus on the details of the events as much as the emotional impact on the victims, the Jews. For me, that was very enlightening in that it wasn't about being victims but in maintaining their covenant with God no matter what. A particularly insightful moment for me was when Schama talked about Yip Harburg's music - "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" and "Over the Rainbow." Those are two such poignant anthems and, in their own way, expressions of the story of the Jews. I highly recommend this series. Yes, there are some controversial moments when viewing the more recent history of Israel and the Palestinian issues. But Schama presents those as another chapter in the history of the Jews; one that is yet to play out, and he doesn't flinch from the problems. Schama is a wonderful historian and a master storyteller. "The Story of the Jews" highlights both of those qualities.
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