The Invention of the Jewish People

Sand, Shlomo
Publisher:  Verso
Year Published:  2009
Price:  $43.50   ISBN:  978 1 84467 422 0
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX8598

In this new book, Shlomo Sand shows that the Israeli national myth has its origins in the nineteenth century, rather than in biblical times - when Jewish historians, like scholars in many other cultures, reconstituted an imagined people in order to model a future nation.

Sand argues that most contemporary Jews do not originate from the ancient Land of Israel, that they never existed as a "nation-race" with a common origin. Just as most contemporary Christians and Muslims are the progeny of converted people, not of the first Christians and Muslims, Judaism was originally, like its two cousins, a converting religion. Many of the present day world Jewish population are descendants of European, Russian and African groups. The original Jews living in Israel, contrary to the accepted history, were not exiled following the Bar Kokhba revolt. Sand argues that most of the Jews were not exiled by the Romans, and were permitted to remain in the country. He puts the number of those exiled at tens of thousands at most. Many Jews converted to Islam following the Arab conquest, and were assimilated among the conquerors. He concludes that the progenitors of the Palestinian Arabs were Jews.

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