OUT TAKES FROM THE ARTICLE: It now appears that the Torah was written as recently as the sixth or fifth century BCE. Rather than a record left by the ancient patriarchs, it was the product of the “self-isolating literary politics” of Jewish elites who had come into contact with abstract Persian religious ideas. These literateurs made use of exaggerated administrative records from the past as well as myths and parables common to the region. ~~ ~ What Sand’s book tests is religious literalism, the misguided attempt by contemporary Christians and Muslims as well as Jews to read their scripture as historical or scientific fact rather than as a complex of myths whose origins we can not be sure of but which have been reworked to teach spiritual messages.
This review essay was published at The Drouth.
A nation is “a group of persons united by a common error about their ancestry and a common dislike of their neighbours.” Karl Deutsch.
“I don’t think books can change the world, but when the world begins to change, it searches for different books.” Shlomo Sand.
Our Assumptions About Israel
Here is what we in the West, to a varying extent, whether we are religious or not, assume about the Jews and Israel:
The Jews of the world, white, black and brown, are the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses, after leading the Jews out of Egyptian enslavement, gave them laws. Emerging from the desert, the Jews conquered the promised land of Canaan, which became Judea and Israel, later the mighty kingdom of David and Solomon. In 70CE the Romans destroyed the temple at Jerusalem and drove the Jews from…
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