Martin Goodman

A History of Judaism
  • A History of Judaism

  • Martin Goodman

    A panoramic history of Judaism from its origins to the present

    Judaism is by some distance the oldest of the three Abrahamic religions. Despite the extraordinarily diverse forms it has taken, the Jewish people have believed themselves bound to God by the same covenant for more than three thousand years. This book explains how Judaism came to be and how it has developed from one age to the next, as well as the ways in which its varieties have related to each other.

    A History of Judaism ranges from Judaism's inception amidst polytheistic societies in the second and fi rst millennia, through the Jerusalem Temple cult in the centuries preceding its destruction, to the rabbis, mystics and messiahs of medieval and early modern times and, finally, the many expressions of the modern and contemporary Jewish worlds. Throughout, Martin Goodman shows how Judaism has been made and remade over the millennia by individuals as well as communities, and shaped by the cultures and philosophies in which Jews have been immersed.

    It becomes a truly global story, spanning not only the Middle East, Europe and North Africa, but also China, India and America, andone that untangles the threads of doctrinal and philosophical debate running through Judaism's history. Goodman demonstrates that its numerous strains have often adopted incompatible practices and ideas - about the authority of ancestral traditions, the meaning of scripture, the nature of God, the afterlife and the End of Days - but that disagreement has almost always been tolerated without schism.

    There have been many histories of the Jewish people but remarkably few attempts to describe the history and evolution of Judaism itself. This panoramic book, the fi rst of its kind in almost seventy years, does glorious justice to the inexhaustible variety of one the world's great religions.

Martin Goodman is Professor of Jewish Studies at Oxford and President of the Oxford Centre for Jewish and Hebrew Studies. He is a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford and the British Academy. His Rome and Jerusalem, published in 2008, was acknowledged as a landmark in the study of the Jewish people in the Roman Empire, and has been translated into six languages. In 2002 he edited the Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies, which was awarded the National Jewish Book Award for Scholarship.