Review of J. L. Talmon: The Nature of Jewish History

Review of The Nature of Jewish History -- Its Universal Significance, by J. L. Talmon, Journal of Modern History, Vol. 29, No. 3 (September 1957).  Reprinted in Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy.


This is an earnest statement by a man who is both a Jew and a historian rather than a Jewish historian. According to him, the historian who studies the fate of the Jewish people cannot and need not go back behind the fact that the Jewish people was constituted by its belief in its being the chosen people; this belief made possible and in effect caused its exiles and its precarious existence throughout the ages up to
the present day; for the establishment of the state of Israel has not removed “the problematic ambiguity attached to Jewish existence everywhere and at all times.”

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