Streams

The Story of the Jews

Monday, March 24, 2014

Simon Schama details the story of the Jewish experience, tracing it across three millennia, from their beginnings as an ancient tribal people to the opening of the New World in 1492. His book The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BC–1492 AD spans the millennia and the continents—from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It’s a story of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians.

Guests:

Simon Schama

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Comments [15]

Schamar from nyc

I asked my very wise rabbi this evening regarding the Seder and when it was first commanded for the jews to have a seder and if, as Schama says, Jesus had a last supper - unrelated to the Passover seder...
Jews celebrated their first seder the night before leaving Egypt! They were commanded to commemorate their exodus out of Egypt from the moment they left the place. Jesus, according to actual Hebrew Jewish scholars did in fact have the Seder meal.
Schama is not well versed in the Jewish Law he is more of an intellectual art historian type.

Mar. 25 2014 11:41 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Simon Shaama is such a genius.

Mar. 24 2014 02:27 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Huh. When Prof. Schama said "1391," I thought he was going to talk about the expulsion of Jews from England in that year.

Mar. 24 2014 01:02 PM
Ed from Larchmont

And of course the first Temple was a tremendous work of art - paintings, etc., as the micro-cosmos.
(There were terrible attacks on the Jewish people in Spain long before the Inquisition.)

Mar. 24 2014 12:59 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I was on a tour in Israel where we saw the kind of mosaic floor Prof. Schama described. The guide said there'd been a rabbinic decision that mosaic art was permissible because it wasn't "graven."

And not only Jews but Muslims were expelled from Spain in 1492.

Mar. 24 2014 12:57 PM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Fascinating topic and great guest. Looking forward to reading The Story of the Jews.

Mar. 24 2014 12:53 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Larry Dell

Roman historian Dio Cassius claims that 580,000 Jews died in the final Bar Kochba revolt of 132-135 AD. Some historians claim that Jews once made up 7-10% of the entire population of the Roman empire. So that would mean some 5 millon to 10 million Jews in the first century. About the same as the Germanics in the Roman empire at the time. Today, GErmanic peoples are well over 100 million worldwide. Jews are little over 13 million. So assimilation as well as the catastrophes have kept the Jewish numbers relatively small, but not the influence of Jews on Western civilization and culture.

Mar. 24 2014 12:50 PM
Gary from Upseak

ditto illfg

Mar. 24 2014 12:49 PM
Ed from Larchmont

The question came up as to the wisdom of a king before Saul was chosen, of course.
The Bible is in many ways in dialogue with other ancient writings, but this doesn't mean it's not inspired. (Fr. Mitch Pacwa)
(Christian holidays coincide with pagan holidays at times because the pagan world was Christianized.)
The Last Supper was a Seder / and was not a Seder, both.

Mar. 24 2014 12:46 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Yeah, Amy

only about 3 millennium. Nothing compared to EGypt for example. The Egyptians built pyramids nearly 2000 years before King David captured Jerusalem. So Israelite history is not all that ancient. But more ancient than most of European history, for example.

Mar. 24 2014 12:44 PM
Larry Dell from East Orange, NJ

How many Jews were there in Jerusalem at the time of the Roman Wars? And extrapolating from that figure how many people today can trace the ancestry to Jews alive at that time?

Mar. 24 2014 12:41 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Only 3 millennia?

Mar. 24 2014 12:40 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I can give the whole history of the Jews in a nutshell. A nation was removed from its land,and went wandering from country to country, until finally was able to return to their native land after suffering major catastrophes, but are still fighting for it even now.

Mar. 24 2014 12:37 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I can give the whole history of the Jews in a nutshell. A nation was removed from its land,and went wandering from country to country, until finally was able to return to their native land after suffering major catastrophes, but are still fighting for it even now.

Mar. 24 2014 12:37 PM

i'm sure i'll catch flack for this but WNYC seems to have become very jewish centric. No other groups gets prominence in terms of stories as jews. getting tired of this. turning off now.

Mar. 24 2014 12:36 PM

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