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A History of Judaism  By  cover art

A History of Judaism

By: Martin Goodman
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping history of Judaism over more than three millennia.

Judaism is one of the oldest religions in the world, and it has preserved its distinctive identity despite the extraordinarily diverse forms and beliefs it has embodied over the course of more than three millennia. A History of Judaism provides the first truly comprehensive look in one volume at how this great religion came to be, how it has evolved from one age to the next, and how its various strains, sects, and traditions have related to each other.

In this magisterial and elegantly authored audiobook, Martin Goodman takes listeners from Judaism's origins in the polytheistic world of the second and first millennia BC to the temple cult at the time of Jesus. He tells the stories of the rabbis, mystics, and messiahs of the medieval and early modern periods and guides us through the many varieties of Judaism today. 

Goodman's compelling narrative spans the globe, from the Middle East, Europe, and America to North Africa, China, and India. He explains the institutions and ideas on which all forms of Judaism are based and masterfully weaves together the different threads of doctrinal and philosophical debate that run throughout its history.

A History of Judaism is a spellbinding chronicle of a vibrant and multifaceted religious tradition that has shaped the spiritual heritage of humankind like no other.

©2018 Martin Goodman (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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    3 out of 5 stars

Not easy to follow.

Not chronological, not easy to follow, overly academic in its wording. The author seems extremely knowledgable and the book is probably great for more advanced students of history, but this is not for the average reader like myself. 3 stars because it seems unbiased and full of good information and insights, but minus 2 stars for being so hard to follow.

6 people found this helpful

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Somewhat Disappointing

This book represents a monumental, though flawed effort by a fine Jewish historian. While is luxuriously addresses the whole of Jewish History, it is flawed by the prejudices and limitations of the author. While those of a liberal bent may find it satisfying, there are huge gaps that may be a result of the author’s limitations. For example, the author tends to rely on secondary or translated sources. As a consequence, he fails to even mention some of the largest Hasidic groups, instead focusing on those that have been written about in English. While his approach might better with straight history, when he tries to write a history of the Jewish religion, his prejudices and limitations diminish the book’s value.
While this may be best for someone not fully familiar with Jewish history, or who is not Jewish, it is a decent, though flawed look at its subject. That said, I learned many things that I did not know.
While this book contains much information, and is generally well-written, it falls short of achieving its purported goal of being a complete history of Judaism.
The narrator had many problems pronouncing Hebrew words, which also lessened the enjoyment of the recording.

4 people found this helpful

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Important but unexciting

It is full of important knowledge and supplies a greatly needed introduction to the history of Jewish thought. Yet there os too much dry info here and too little of interesting interpretation and ideas. And the performance is distant and not human enough