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A Short History of the Jewish People

From Legendary Times to Modern Statehood

Raymond P. Scheindlin

Publication Date - 27 July 2000

ISBN: 9780195139419

288 pages
5-5/16 x 8 inches

In Stock

A brief, accessible, and engaging one-volume companion to Jewish history


Where did the Jews come from? How did they retain their strong sense of community through centuries of dispersion? How have the Jews of the present, with their proud ethnic identity and thriving national home, emerged out of the downtrodden Jews of the past? Such questions arise naturally in the minds of anyone contemplating the long history of Jewish people. In one concise, authoritative volume, A Short History of the Jewish People provides insights and answers.

This sweeping and highly informative work presents the major geographical, cultural, and political forces that have determined the course of Jewish history, introducing the many individuals, both religious and secular, who have shaped the character, mindset, and prospects of the Jewish people. Organized chronologically, the narrative follows the Jewish experience from legendary times to the peace agreements currently being negotiated in the Middle East. And, to give this overview an international and timely perspective, Raymond P. Scheindlin focuses his study on the pivotal events and dominant communities within each historical period.

Written by a respected Hebrew scholar, cultural historian, noted author, and rabbi, A Short History of the Jewish People carefully describes the story of a people as varied as the many cultures in which they have lived. Including detailed maps and stirring photos, as well as timelines and sidebars, this pioneering work is a valuable resource for anyone broadly curious about the Jewish people.


  • Author is a respected historian, rabbi, and Hebrew scholar
  • Story of a people whose lives are as varied as the cultures in which they have lived
  • Includes detailed maps, stirring photos, timelines, and sidebars

About the Author(s)

Raymond P. Scheindlin teaches at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City. His other books include Wine, Women, and Death: Medieval Hebrew Poems on the Good Life and The Gazelle: Medieval Hebrew Poems on God, Israel, and the Soul.


"[A] well-written, handy little textbook....The book is well supplied with pedagogical aids, including excellent maps, boxes that explore allusions in the text itself in greater depth, a selected bibliography for each chapter, and a thorough index. As such it will be of great use as the first text in introductory surveys of the history of the Jews or the history of Judaism. It will also provide instructors with good foundations upon which to add more detailed material."--Religious Studies Review

"Scheindlin's short book provides a concise and readable summary of more than 3,000 years of Jewish history. It provides the student and general reader with an excellent introduction to the topic."--Marvin Swartz, University of Massachussetts at Amherst

"Scheindlin, a respected Hebrew scholar, cultural historian, noted author and rabbi, undertakes the daunting task of summarizing Jewish history in a concise fashion....In his narrative, ...Scheindlin sheds light on Jewish experience staring with legendary times to today's ongoing Middle East process. He doesn't shy away from problems the world's Jews have faced during their history, but concludes that in many ways, the Jewish condition in the present is better than it has been at any time since antiquity."--The Topeka Capital-Journal

Table of Contents

    1. Israelite Origins and Kingdom
    2. Judea and the Origins of the Dispora
    3. Roman Palestine and Sassanid Babylonia
    4. The Jews in the Islamic World: From the Rise of Islam to the End of the Middle Ages
    5. The Jews of Medieval Christian Europe
    6. The Jews in the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East
    7. The Jews of Western Europe
    8. The Jews of Eastern Europe and the United States
    9. The Holocaust
    10. Zionism and the Origins of the State of Israel
    11. The Jewish People after 1948