The key message of The Chosen Few is that the literacy of the Jewish people, coupled with a set of contract-enforcement institutions developed during the five centuries after the destruction of the Second Temple, gave the Jews a comparative advantage in occupations such as crafts, trade, and moneylending—occupations that benefited from literacy, contract-enforcement mechanisms, and networking and provided high earnings. Agriculture, the typical occupation of the Jewish people in the days of Josephus in the first century, was no longer their typical occupation seven to eight centuries later. The E-mail message field is required. After the year 70, the priests who ran the Temple were no longer in the ascendency, yielding power to the Jewish rabbis and scholars who ultimately wrote the Talmud over the next few centuries. Over the next six centuries, those Jews who found the norms of Judaism too costly to obey converted to other religions, making world Jewry shrink. The following chapters are devoted to describing the formation of a voluntary Diaspora, and focus on the rise of Western European Jewry.
Political emancipation and reforms, like the ones implemented in the Hapsburg Empire, contributed to a great extent in shifting the professional position of the Jews. If you were spiritual but didn't have much money, you became a Christian or joined one of the other popular groups that didn't require an expensive Jewish education. In this rural economy, educating the children as Judaism requires is a cost, but brings no economic benefits because literacy does not make a farmer more productive or wealthier. A popular view contends that both their exclusion from craft and merchant guilds and usury bans on Muslims and Christians segregated European Jews into moneylending during the Middle Ages. But are the predictions of the economic theory set forth by the two economists consistent with what really happened to the Jews during the first millennium? With the magnifying glass, the reader will be like a historian, who focuses on a place and a time period, painstakingly digs through the sources, and carefully documenting the historical trajectory of the Jews there. Would love to explore these topics through great books with like-minded people.
Jews were expelled from England in 1290, more than a century after the appearance of ritual murder libels. The table of contents clearly reflects major trends in historiography of the latest decades, although both authors address one of the main issues that have been on the agenda of historians and social scientist since the nineteenth century, when historiography on Jews and Judaism developed into a more or less professional discipline. This in turn would explain why the Jews, at this point in history, became so successful in occupations related to credit and financial markets. Although figures vary, there is a scholarly consensus on the dramatic drop of the Jewish population between the fall of the temple and the end of the Talmudic period. Religion is one of the many commodities that are available on a relative free market, and it is likely to attract or reject on the basis of its appeal. The Mongol invasion of Persia and Mesopotamia began in 1219 and culminated in the razing of Baghdad in 1258.
This theory is fascinating and offers new insight into what can be termed self-segregation rules, focusing, in this case for example, on literacy more than the laws of purity. Reading the selected book is absolutely not required to attend. In the centuries before 70, the core of Judaism was centered around two pillars: the Temple in Jerusalem, in which sacrifices were performed by a small elite of high priests, and the reading and the study of the Written Torah, which was also restricted to a small elite of rabbis and scholars. What caused this radical change? Abstract: Winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award in Scholarship One of Jewish Ideas Daily. The Mongol invasion of Persia and Mesopotamia beginning in 1219 and culminating in the razing of Baghdad in 1258, contributed to the demise of the urban and commercial economy of the Abbasid Empire and brought the economies of Mesopotamia and Persia back to an agrarian and pastoral stage for a long period.
In other words, it meant they had to invest time and resources in religious literacy, rather than having the help of their children in working the land. In this rural economy, educating the children as Judaism requires, is a cost but brings no economic benefits because literacy does not make a farmer more productive or wealthier. Educated wandering Jews, 800-1250 -- Wandering Jews before Marco Polo ; Jewish migration within the Muslim caliphates ; Migration of Byzantine Jewry ; Jewish migration to and within Christian Europe ; Migration of the Jewish religious center ; Summary -- Ch. These changes vastly increased the demand for skilled and literate occupations in the newly established urban empire. By 1492 the Jewish people had become a small group of literate urbanites specializing in crafts, trade, moneylending, and medicine in hundreds of places across the Old World, from Seville to Mangalore.
Reading the selected book is absolutely not required to attend. As the theory suggests, conversion of Jews to Christianity escalated as a result of religious rules that enforced increased literacy in the framework of a farming society. Goitein, which eventuated in his remarkable five-volume A Mediterranean Society 1967—1993 , has proven conclusively that during the first half of the Middle Ages Jews in the sphere of Islam, who constituted the overwhelming majority of worldwide Jewry, were thoroughly diversified in their economic pursuits, with the sole exception of involvement in agriculture. Because wine was a profitable commodity, Jewish involvement with this business needed to be formally and legally sanctioned from within the Jewish community. With the telescope, the reader will be like an economist, who assembles and painstakingly compares the information offered by the works of the historians, creates a complete picture of the economic and demographic history of the Jewish people over 15 centuries, and then uses the powerful tools of economic reasoning and logic to address one of the most fundamental questions in Jewish history: why are the Jews a relatively small population specialized in the most skilled and economic profitable occupations? In those arenas, Jews had enormous advantages: universal literacy; a common language and religious culture; and the ability to have contracts enforced, even from a distance of thousands of miles. How did Jews arrive to the Christian countries of Western Europe? And so a number of Jews converted to Islam. The astonishing theory presented here has great implications for both the Jewish community and the broader world today.
For the Jews of the. I will mention only three problems that may be of some relevance. How did this affect world Jewry? The issue over role of the Jews in the past was twofold, and reflected changes in the process of Jewish integration throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Despite their different beliefs and ritual structure, Roman and Greek religions, alongside Zoroastrianism, mysteries religions, Orphic and Dionysian cults, and Mithraism never implemented a law that imposed significant textual knowledge of a written sacred tradition. The theory the authors offer is applied to very different historical, social and religious contexts. Concomitant with the ascent of this empire, agricultural productivity grew, new industries developed, commerce greatly expanded, and new cities and towns developed. How and why did Jews turn to certain specific professions, namely money-lending, medicine, trade, and a few other specialized urban occupations? Already during the 12th and 13th centuries, moneylending was the occupation par excellence of the Jews in England, France, and Germany, and one of the main professions of the Jews in the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, and other locations in western Europe.
Its religious norms, especially the one requiring fathers to educate their sons, had once again become a costly religious sacrifice with no economic return. So economics dictated who stayed and who strayed. We are both progressive in our politics and social perspectives and follow both national and international events closely. In the two centuries after the death of Mohammed, in 632, the Muslim Umayyad and, later, Abbasid caliphs, established a vast empire stretching from the Iberian Peninsula to India and China, with a common language Arabic , religion Islam , laws, and institutions. If you were devout and wealthy, you were likely to pay for your sons' Jewish education. Contrary to common belief, Botticini and Eckstein write, Jews weren't forced into money lending because they were forced out of guilds.
What would the reader see? Yet both the wealthy and the less affluent farmer might also choose to not obey the norm for a number of reasons, and thus would have to accept the social stigma that came with the label of am ha-aretz. The authors explore different historical explanations, according to which Jews were pushed into money-lending: one suggests that they were thrust into it because of the exclusive membership of Christian guilds Roth ; another one emphasizes persecutions and portable capital as driving forces that produced this professional specialization, and the last explanation is given by Haym Soloveitchik, which regards the laws on buying and selling wine in medieval Europe. I just love reading Foreign Affairs magazine and books on international relations. Why then the Jews, at a certain point in history, became so successful in occupations related to credit and financial markets? The chief editor of the Journal des économistes established a parallel that was almost a myth. Most Jews and most of everyone else were farmers back then. However, money-lending was not a distinctively Jewish occupation.