On this magnificently illustrated cultural historical past—the tie-in to the pbs and bbc sequence The Story of the Jews—simon schama particulars the story of the jewish folks, tracing their expertise throughout three millennia, from their beginnings as an historical tribal folks to the opening of the brand new world in 1492
It’s a story like no different: an epic of endurance within the face of destruction, of creativity within the face of oppression, pleasure amidst grief, the affirmation of life regardless of 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 locations: to a Jewish kingdom within the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall work; the palm groves of the Jewish useless within 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 backyard in Muslim Spain.
In The Story of the Jews, the Talmud burns within the streets of Paris, massed gibbets dangle 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 an ideal story unfolds. Not—as typically imagined—of a tradition aside, however of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples amongst whom they’ve dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians.
Which makes the story of the Jews everybody’s story, too.