The Sacred Chain: The History of the Jews

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HarperCollins, 1994 - Jews - 472 pages
The Sacred Chain is the most comprehensive, readable, up-to-date history of the Jews in the English language. The focus is on how a Jewish identity and consciousness were created, perpetuated, and shaped through three millennia of tumultuous and complex development. Norman F. Cantor sees the Jews as a distinctive ethnic group, rising from anthropological and sociological sources in ancient times. Then, molded in part by interaction with other societies, the Jews developed a unique and persistent culture, behavior pattern, and mind-set. Cantor regards Jewish history as embracing all people regarded by themselves or others as Jews and argues that there is a distinctive Jewish sense and sensibility that are apparent among Jews assimilated to other cultures and converted to other religions, as well as among those who have remained loyal to traditional religion. This book is certain to generate an intense public debate on the meaning of Jewish ethnicity and the significance of Jewish history.

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THE SACRED CHAIN: The History of the Jews

User Review  - Kirkus

Caveat emptor: This is most definitely not ``the history'' of the Jews. It is, rather, a series of very free-flowing exercises in what the author refers to as ``historical sociology.'' Cantor (History ... Read full review

The sacred chain: a history of the Jews

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This is the most recent comprehensive history of the Jews in the English language. Cantor is his usual provocative self in delineating what he sees as the meaning of Jewish ethnicity and the significance of Jewish history. (LJ 11/15/94) Read full review


one The Origin of the Jews
wo The People of the Covenant
three Jewish Diversity

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About the author (1994)

Norman F. Cantor was Emeritus Professor of History, Sociology, and Comparative Literature at New York University. His many books include In the Wake of the Plague, Inventing the Middle Ages, and The Civilization of the Middle Ages, the most widely read narrative of the Middle Ages in the English language. He died in 2004.

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