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The Invention of the Jewish People - Shlomo Sand

The Invention of the Jewish People

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"Israel's Declaration of Independence states that the Jewish people arose in the Land of Israel and was exiled from its homeland. Every Israeli schoolchild is taught that this happened during the period of Roman rule, in 70 CE. The nation remained loyal to its land, to which it began to return after two millennia of exile. Wrong, says the historian Shlomo Sand, in one of the most fascinating and challenging books published here in a long time. There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened--hence there was no return."--Tom Segev, Ha'aretz

All modern nation states have a story of their origins, passed down through both official and popular culture, and yet few of these accounts have proved as divisive and influential as the Israeli national myth. The well-known tale of Jewish exile at the hands of the Romans during the first century AD, and the assertion of both cultural and racial continuity through to the Jewish people of the present day, resonates far beyond Israel's borders. Despite its use as a justification for Jewish settlement in Palestine and the project of a Greater Israel, there have been few scholarly investigations into the historical accuracy of the story as a whole.

In this bold and ambitious new book, Shlomo Sand shows that the Israeli national myth has its origins in the nineteenth century, rather than in biblical times--when Jewish historians, like scholars in many other cultures, reconstituted an imagined people in order to model a future nation. Sand forensically dissects the official story--and demonstrates the construction of a nationalist myth and the collective mystification that this requires.

A bestseller in Israel and France, Shlomo Sand's book has sparked a widespread and lively debate. Should the Jewish people regard themselves as genetically distinct and identifiable across the millennia--or should that doctrine now be left behind and if the myth of the "Jewish state" is dismantled, could this open a path toward a more inclusive Israeli state, content within its borders?

"Shlomo Sand has written a remarkable book. .. Anyone interested in understanding the contemporary Middle East should read this book." Tony Judt ".. a formidable polemic against claims that Israel has a moral right to define itself as an explicitly and exclusively Jewish society, in which non-Jews, such as Palestino-Israelis, are culturally and politically marginalised." Max Hastings, Sunday Times "Shlomo Sand's The Invention of the Jewish People (Verso) is both a welcome and, in the case of Israel, much needed exercise in the dismantling of nationalist historical myth and a plea for an Israel that belongs equally to all its inhabitants. Perhaps books combining passion and erudition don't change political situations, but if they did, this one would count as a landmark." Eric Hobshawm, Observer, Books of the year "A string of firecrackers." Stephen Howe, Independent, Book of the Week "Sand takes on a formidable tradition in claiming that moral validity in the Middle East needs good history, and no discussion of the region any longer seems complete without acknowledgement of his book." Independent on Sunday, Best History Books of 2009 "An important book - one that hammers another nail into Zionism's ideological coffin." Tony Greenstein, Weekly Worker "[Sand's] quiet earthquake of a book is shaking historical faith in the link between Judaism and Israel." Rafael Behr, Observer

Preface to the English-Language Editionp. ix
Introduction: Burdens of Memoryp. 1
Identity in Movementp. 1
Constructed Memoriesp. 14
Making Nations: Sovereignty and Equalityp. 23
Lexicon: ôPeopleö and Ethnosp. 24
The Nation: Boundaries and Definitionsp. 31
From Ideology to Identityp. 39
From Ethnic Myth to Civil Imaginaryp. 45
The Intellectual as the Nation's ôPrinceöp. 54
Mythistory: In the Beginning, God created the Peoplep. 64
The Early Shaping of Jewish Historyp. 65
The Old Testament as Mythistoryp. 71
Race and Nationp. 78
A Historians' Disputep. 81
A Protonationalist View from the Eastp. 87
An Ethnicist Stage in the Westp. 95
The First Steps of Historiography in Zionp. 100
Politics and Archaeologyp. 107
The Earth Rebels against Mythistoryp. 115
The Bible as Metaphorp. 123
The Invention of the Exile: Proselytism and Conversionp. 129
The ôPeopleö Exiled in 70 CEp. 130
Exile without Expulsion-History in the Twilight Zonep. 136
Against Its Will, the People Emigrate from the Homelandp. 143
ôAll Nations Shall Flow Unto Itöp. 150
The Hasmoneans Impose Judaism on Their Neighborsp. 154
From The Hellenistic Sphere to Mesopotamian Territoryp. 161
Judaizing in the Shadow of Romep. 166
How Rabbinical Judaism Viewed Proselytizingp. 173
The Sad Fate of the Judeansp. 178
Remembering and Forgetting the ôPeople of the Landöp. 182
Realms Of Silence: In Search of Lost (Jewish) Timep. 190
Arabia Felix: The Proselytized Kingdom of Himyarp. 192
Phoenicians and Berbers: The Mysterious Queen Kahinap. 199
Jewish Kagans? A Strange Empire Rises in the Eastp. 210
Khazars and Judaism: A Long Love Affair?p. 218
Modern Research Explores the Khazar Pastp. 230
The Enigma: The Origin of Eastern Europe's Jewsp. 238
The Distinction: Identity Politics in Israelp. 250
Zionism and Heredityp. 256
The Scientific Puppet and the Racist Hunchbackp. 272
Founding an Ethnos Statep. 280
ôJewish and Democraticö-An Oxymoron?p. 292
Ethnocracy in the Age of Globalizationp. 307
Acknowledgementsp. 314
Indexp. 315
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781844674220
ISBN-10: 1844674223
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 19th October 2009
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.6  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.67
Edition Number: 1