Jewish History Term Paper
- Length: 20 pages
- Sources: 10
- Subject: Mythology - Religion
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #85257744
Excerpt from Term Paper :
Jewish history was promoted by the scribes or the Levites in early Jewish history and later on the popular educator and teachers promoted learning of the scriptures within the Jewish people so that history would be preserved however, at the time Christianity emerged this factor influenced the ancient writings in terms of how this history was related.
Some of Jewish history is so ancient that it has only been related by word of mouth however, there are writings which support history as it is told of the Jewish people. Furthermore, Christianity's emergence affected the form in which some of these ancient writings were reproduced and even the forms of recorded history characterized as genuine and credible Jewish history.
In the initiative of attempting to understand Jewish history, it is necessary to understand the varying influences upon the recorded history of the Jewish people and it is most particularly to understand the influences that early Christianity had upon Jewish history and its recorded translation.
The work of Spiro (2007) entitled: "The Miracle of Jewish History" states "when we look back at the history of the Jewish people...we have to keep one thing in mind: The very survival of the Jewish people through recorded time is nothing short of miraculous. The very fact that Jews exist as a nation today stands in testimony to the existence of God who acts in history. By any historical measure the Jewish people should have disappeared long ago." Spiro states that Jewish history "simply doesn't comply with the rest of history; it does not make sense." (2007) Spiro notes that Mark Twain, "the great American writer" both an agnostic and had acknowledge that he was a skeptic wrote in an 1899 Harper's Magazine article:
The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away. The Greek and Roman followed, made a vast noise and they are gone. Other peoples have sprung up, and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out and they sit in twilight now or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal, but the Jew. All other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?" (Spiro, 2007)
Spiro also notes the statement of Leo Nikolaivitch Tolstoy, a very religious Russian Orthodox Christian who wrote:
The Jew is the emblem of eternity. He who neither slaughter nor torture of thousands of years could destroy, he who neither fire, nor sword, nor Inquisition was able to wipe off the face of the earth. He who was the first to produce the Oracles of God. He who has been for so long the Guardian of Prophecy and has transmitted it to the rest of the world. Such a nation cannot be destroyed. The Jew is as everlasting as Eternity itself." (2007)
Spiro additionally notes in his work the statement of Nikolai Derdyaev, a famous Russian philosopher who in 1935 wrote:
The Jews have played an all-important role in history. Their destiny is too imbued with the "metaphysical" to be explained either in material or positive historical terms....Its survival is a mysterious and wonderful phenomenon demonstrating that the life of this people is governed by special predetermination, transcending the process of adaptation... The survival of the Jews, their resistance to destruction, their endurance under absolute peculiar conditions and the fateful role played by them in history; all point to the particular and mysterious foundations of their destiny." (2007)
Spiro states as another reason for the survival of the Jewish people the fact that "they have clung to their religion." (2007) Spiro states that it is more than the Jews having "kept the Sabbath...the Sabbath has kept the Jews." (2007) Spiro states that the 12 to 13 million Jews living in the world today, without the persecution and assimilation of these people would total 500 million. Spiro likens Jewish history to a "6,000- piece puzzle" and states "At the beginning you dump the pieces on the table and it makes no sense. But as you assemble piece after piece, a picture emerges. A picture that records the action of God in history." (2007)
Jewish history begins with the creation of Adam "who is seen as the physical and spiritual pinnacle in terms of the creation of the world." (Spiro, 2007) The Jewish conception of God is "that of Creator, Sustainer, and Supervisor, which means not a God who created the world, and then when on vacation...but an infinite Being who is actively involved in creation." (Spiro, 2007) Jewish history relates that upon God creating Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Bible and other Jewish writings relate that Adam and Even ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God's original plan for mankind involved living in a peaceful place with freedom to fulfill that which human beings were created for in a perfection of our relationship with God and in perfecting the creations of God. The entire purpose of mankind's creation is a lost legacy disappearing in the rebellion of Adam and Eve. Following Adam and Eve having been expelled from the Garden of Eden, over time and in fact within just a "few generations, worship of God was replaced by worshiping nature; the sun, the moon, the trees...God was forgotten and idol worship was practiced by all." (Spiro, 2007)
The work of Dubnow entitled: "Jewish History" states that in making clear "the range of Jewish history, it is necessary to set down a few general, elementary definitions by way of introduction. It has long been recognized that a fundamental difference exists between historical and unhistorical peoples, a difference growing out of the fact of the natural inequality between the various elements composing the human race." (2005) Dubnow relates that the "attribute applied to peoples that have not yet broken away, or have not departed very far, from the state of primitive savagery" is the attribute of "unhistorical." Dubnow states that historical "is applied to the nations that have had a conscious purposeful history of appreciable duration; that have progressed stage by stage, in their growth in the improvement of their mode and their views of life; that have demonstrated mental productivity of some sort, and have elaborated principles of civilization and social life more or less rational; nations, in short representing not only zoological but also spiritual types." (2005) Dubnow relates that the historical nations are divided into three primary groups: (1) the most ancient civilized peoples of the Orient (Chinese, Hindu, Egyptians, Chaldeans; (2) the ancient or classic peoples of the Occident (Greeks and Romans); and (3) modern peoples (the civilized nations of Europe and America of the present day. (Dubnow, 2005) Dubnow writes that the Jewish people "must needs correspond to the aggregate of the concepts expressed by the three-group names, most ancient, ancient and modern." (2005) Dubnow relates that the only applicable description of the Jewish nation is "the historical nation of all times" which is stated to be a "description bringing into relief the contrast between it and all other nations of modern and ancient times, whose historical existence either came to an end in days long past, or began at a date comparatively recent." (2005) Dubnow relates that should the world's history be "conceived as a circle, then Jewish history occupies the position of the diameter, the line passing through its centre, and the history of every other nation is represented by a chord marking off a smaller segment of the circle." (2005) Dubnow relates that the history of the Jewish people "is like an axis crossing the history of mankind from one of its poles to the other. As an unbroken thread it runs through the ancient civilization of Egypt and Mesopotamia, down to the present-day culture of France and Germany. Its divisions are measured by thousands of years." (2005)
Dubnow states that the history of the Jewish people "falls into two parts." (2005) The line which divides the two parts is stated to be "the moment in which the Jewish state collapsed irretrievably under the blows of the Roman Empire (70 C.E.)" (2005) These two periods include:
1) the vicissitudes of a nation, which though frequently at the mercy of stronger nations, still maintained possession of its territory and government, and was ruled by its own laws; and 2) the history of a people without a government, without a land, a people stripped of all the tangible accompaniments of nationality, and nevertheless successful in preserving its spiritual unity, its originality, complete and undiminished. (Dubnow, 2005)
Dubnow relates that on the veneer, the period of independence in the Jewish history, appears somewhat different from the history of other nations and while Jewish history contains…