By Oliver Leaman
The tale of Judaism is a narrative of paradox. it's the tale of the way a small cluster of wilderness tribes gave beginning to a monotheistic doctrine that profoundly formed the background of human civilization. it's the tale of the way that at first imprecise wilderness doctrine got here to be codified into the Hebrew Bible, one of many world's maximum works of literature. it's the tale of ways a small minority got here to be seen by way of the bulk as disproportionately strong and, following pogrom and Holocaust, have been pushed to the sting of extinction. And it's the tale of the way a displaced humans, globally dispersed all through different international locations for two-and-a-half millennia, got here to forge a latest, secular Israeli kingdom which many Jews think to were granted an explicitly divine mandate. Oliver Leaman rigorously and creatively explores the character of those obvious contradictions. He discusses the origins of the Jewish Bible; recounts the historical past of the Jewish humans from the period of Patriarchs and Prophets throughout the center a long time as much as the modern period; outlines the Jewish liturgical calendar and its significant rites and modes of worship; and considers the good number of Jewish literatures (including smooth post-Holocaust writers like Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel), artwork, foodstuff and tradition. extra chapters study such issues as mysticism and kabbalah; sleek Hebrew; interfaith relatives; and the hugely contested query, "Who is a Jew?".