The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words (1000 BCE - 1492)

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9780099546689: The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words (1000 BCE - 1492)

It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amid grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds. The first of two volumes, The Story of the Jews spans the millennia and the continents—from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes readers to unimagined places: a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia, a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall paintings, the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the writers of the Bible to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in Muslim Spain.

Within these pages, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world, candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, and ships loaded with spices and gems founder at sea.

And a great story unfolds. Not—as often imagined—of a culture apart, but 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.

Which makes the story of the Jews everyone’s story.

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From the Back Cover:

In this magnificently illustrated cultural history—the tie-in to the pbs and bbc series The Story of the Jews—simon schama details the story of the jewish people, tracing their experience across three millennia, from their beginnings as an ancient tribal people to the opening of the new world in 1492

It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance in the face of destruction, of creativity in the face of oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life despite the steepest of odds.

It spans the millennia and the continents—from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes you to unimagined places: to a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall paintings; the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the Bible writers to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in Muslim Spain.

In The Story of the Jews, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with gems and spices founder at sea.

And a great story unfolds. Not—as often imagined—of a culture apart, but 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.

Which makes the story of the Jews everyone's story, too.

About the Author:

Simon Schama is a professor of art history and history at Columbia University. His award-winning books, translated into fifteen languages, include Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, Landscape and Memory, Rembrandt’s Eyes, A History of Britain, The Power of Art, Rough Crossings, and most recently, The American Future: A History. His art columns for The New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for criticism, and his journalism has appeared regularly in The Guardian and the Financial Times, where he is a contributing editor. He has written and presented forty films for BBC2 on subjects as diverse as Tolstoy, American politics, and John Donne, and won an Emmy for The Power of Art.

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