A History of Judaism

By Martin Goodman,

Book cover of A History of Judaism

Book description

A sweeping history of Judaism over more than three millennia

Judaism is one of the oldest religions in the world, and it has preserved its distinctive identity despite the extraordinarily diverse forms and beliefs it has embodied over the course of more than three millennia. A History of Judaism provides…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked A History of Judaism as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I’ve read every major history of the Jewish people, but Goodman’s A History of Judaism proved to be one of the best. I found it revelatory. The way Goodman uses the evolution of Jewish religious thought and practice as a vehicle to tell the story of a people deepened my understanding of both Jewish experience and thought.

I found it powerfully dramatic and deeply enriching. After listening, I read the book. Then I listened again. Each time, it gave me more. In this way, the history book was as generous as a work of art.

I found this book a revelation. It reveals an entire theological and philosophical tradition that I was almost completely ignorant of.

I knew a bit about Philo and Maimonides, and of course the Hebrew Bible, but had no idea about the depth of Jewish thinking over the centuries. From the Talmud to modern Reform and Orthodox Judaism, via Saadia Gaon and the Kabbalah, this comprehensive survey is a magnificent achievement.

And it’s made all the more enjoyable by Martin Goodman’s clear prose and amazing erudition.    

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