Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History

David Biale, Author
David Biale, Author Schocken Books Inc $18.95 (244p) ISBN 978-0-8052-4015-3
Reviewed on: 12/01/1986
Release date: 12/01/1986
To shed light on the tensions he observed between Jewish perceptions of power versus political realitieswhich ""are often the cause of misguided political decisions,'' like Israel's Lebanese WarBiale analyzes Jewish history from the point of view of politics and power. The author of Gershom Scholem: Kabbalah and Counter-History here challenges the conventions of what he terms the Jewish ``mythical past'': the anachronistic interpretation that the Diaspora, which occurred between the fall of an independent Jewish commonwealth in A.D. 70 and the rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948, was politically impotent, and, conversely, that the First and Second Temple periods were eras of full Jewish national sovereignty. His succinct, thoroughly researched, insightful argumentssuch as his thesis that the Hasmonean Revolt was neither a primarily religious nor a nationalistic resistance to the Greeks but an internal Jewish struggle for control of the high priesthoodare sure to spark controversy. (December)
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