Bintel Blog

‘The Invention of the Jewish People’ — Let the Furor Begin!

By Daniel Treiman

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When a far-left Tel Aviv University historian penned a tome dedicated to disputing the historicity of Jewish peoplehood, it — unsurprisingly — caused something of a stir in Israel. Then the book was translated and published in France, where it — also unsurprisingly — was given a prestigious prize. (This prompted the estimable Hillel Halkin, writing in the pages of the Forward, to note that “if one is talking about the ‘construction’ of national identities… it is the French and Spanish who are the parvenus, having undertaken the task only in the late Middle Ages,” whereas Jews “had a fully developed national consciousness at least 2,500 years ago.”)

Shlomo Sand’s “The Invention of the Jewish People” is slated to come out in English next month from the self-described “radical publisher” Verso. So it’s safe to expect the media furor to begin any day now.

True to its name, the online Faster Times appears to be the first out of the gate with a write-up on the controversial book. Faster Times religion-books correspondent (and Forward contributor) Gordon Haber offers a notably unfurious but nevertheless critical assessment, writing that “Sand comes off like the relative that corners you every Thanksgiving to harangue you about politics.”



Comments
Kevin Brook Sat. Sep 5, 2009

Shlomo Sand cites from my book "The Jews of Khazaria". The second edition of my book was published in 2006 and contains a detailed and objective analysis of the origins of East European Jews as well as an appendix with discussion of the origins of Yemenite Jews, Ethiopian Jews, and several other groups. Genetics, history, archaeology, anthropology - it's all there.

My conclusions differ substantially from Sand's because I disprove his claim that Khazars and Slavs represent the biggest components of East European Jewish ancestry.

"The Jews of Khazaria" comes out in paperback this November! It sure would be nice to see some more reviews of my book, such as in the Forward (hint, hint). A review copy is available from my publisher.

Lbnaz Fri. Sep 11, 2009

I would like to second Kevin Brooks request for a Forward book review of his book "The Jews of Khazaria" and discussion of Brooks' argument -contra Sands- that Khazars and Slavs don't represent the biggest components of East European Jewish ancestry.

eliyho matz matzozky Mon. Sep 21, 2009

wheter left or right up and down sands book baisically challanges our origin that is the secret of the jewish civilization survival was and is conversion as much as we dont like to boast about it but his book is much more complicted than just this issue the book was meant to the israelis a nation that is not sure it exists and it meant to explain the israelis that they better wake up to the realities of the fact that they became a nation in 1948 and not as mr b.n. the priminister would like it to be a nation of jews a nation of jews who read the forwards backwards we have already in newyork according to information i gave shlomo the israelis would like to see themselves as a not clear nation as indicated in brother daniel s identity card and i have seen one that identified its carier as nationality ... converted ... no bad

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