Magic Circles

V.G. Kiernan

  • Jewish History: Essays in Honour of Chimen Abramsky edited by Ada Rapoport-Albert and Steven Zipperstein
    Peter Halban, 700 pp, £30.00, January 1989, ISBN 1 870015 19 3
  • A History of Islamic Societies by Ira Lapidus
    Cambridge, 1002 pp, £35.00, July 1988, ISBN 0 521 22552 3

The fountainhead of the world’s two main families of religions was a small Near Eastern people, the Jewish. In the modern world Jews have been prominent among the creators of its arts and sciences and its politics. To define or delimit the history of this unique people is difficult, since for two millennia it has been scattered over the continents, always externally involved with alien, usually hostile neighbours, but in its inner life turned in on itself. It has fed on a remote past and a remoter future, the glorious days of the conquest and settlement of Canaan, and the longed-for advent of the Messiah.

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