From Habiru to Hebrews and Other Essays
The ten essays assembled in this volume represent the fruit of fifty years of research and study in the fields of Jewish history and World history. They show that the Jewish people has played a progressive role in world history, a role which grew out of the political culture of the Habiru.
Mentioned in literally hundreds of cuneiform inscriptions dating from the 2nd millenium BCE, the Habiru formed scattered bands of runaway slaves and other fugitives who maintained themselves on the outskirts of the settled areas of the Middle East. Constituting a social class rather than an extended family, they were nonetheless the founders of the ancient Jewish nation whose origins are depicted in a legendary form in the Hebrew Scriptures. It was their egalitarian value system which was handed down to posterity by the Jewish people.
In this way there arose a process which has continued unto this day: on the one hand the gradual incorporation of progressive Jewish values into world culture, but on the other hand the relentless persecution of the Jewish people by the forces of tyranny and injustice. In today's world this process takes the form of the struggle to survive of the democratic state of Israel in the face of the united opposition of autocratic forces everywhere.
Written at different times over the course of the past 15 years or so, each of the ten essays in this volume addresses a different aspect of this process. Taken together they cast a bright light on the truth of Jewish history and the Jewish people.
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tHe seleuCid era
tHe J udeomasoniC tradition
JewisH History and world History
am a Zionist