2000 Years of Jewish History, by Rabbi Chaim Schloss

jewish history

The timelines are great, the opinions are frequent

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2000 years is a long time period for one book

This reviewer was drawn towards Rabbi Chaim Schloss's book "2000 years of Jewish History" during a Feldheim book sale. It's big, it's impressive, it's got timelines. The subheader is "from the destruction of the Second Bais Hamikdash until the twentieth century" (Bais Hamikdash = Holy Temple in Jerusalem).

The timelines are one of the most interesting aspects of the book. For each section, there is an expanded timeline for that period, showing major events within the smaller period. This helps put into perspective where in the 2000 years the events take place, as well as giving a quick visual cue as to the major Jewish events discussed in the chapter.

Poetic license in the text, and lack of world history on timelines

One limitation in the book is the rather poetic style of prose. That style tends to be less scholarly than one would expect for a history text. Reading it, perhaps one should relate to it as more of a story like account of Jewish history than a totally scholarly one. After all, a scholarly account can be rather dry.

A secret goal of this reviewer is to design a timeline of Jewish history that is paralleled with world history. What was going on in the English renaissance when great things were going on in Italian Jewish history? Just because there wasn't a Jew on the British Isles doesn't mean it's not of interest to put Jewish history in context of general world history. In this book, Rabbi Schloss's timelines are pretty much exclusively Jewish. This is, of course, the purpose of the book, but this reviewer would love to see more context of world history.

You can purchase 2000 Years of Jewish History at Amazon.com.


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