WINNER OF THE 1987 JWB NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD FOR HISTORY
In this radical reinterpretation of Jewish history, David Biale tackles the myth of Jewish political passivity between the fall of an independent Jewish Commonwealth in 70 C.E. and the rebirth of the state of Israel in 1948. He argues that Jews throughout history demonstrated a savvy understanding of political life; they were neither as powerless as the memory of the Holocaust years would suggest nor as powerful as the as the contemporary state of Israel would imply.
David Biale is the Emanuel Ringelblum Professor of Jewish History at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of Gershom Scholem: Kabbalah and Counter-History, Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History, and Eros and the Jews. He is also the editor of Insider/Outsider: American Jews and Multiculturalism. He lives in Berkeley, California.
“The most important point of David Biale’s valuable study is that Jewish political history extends across the centuries of the Diaspora; it is a continuous history, not one cut off at the fall of the Second Jewish Commonwealth. Biale is especially good at evoking the internal life of those autonomous or semi-autonomous communities within which the political sensibility of contemporary Jews first took shape.” —Michael Walzer
“A relevant and studious book that should interest readers of Jewish history or anyone interested in Israel’s place in today’s world. —Booklist
“His succinct, thoroughly researched, insightful arguments . . . are sure to spark controversy.” —Publisher’s Weekly Biale’s work demonstrates the best of contemporary Jewish scholarship. Historically informed and critically based, it is a brave work attacking a metahistory of the Jewish people and unmasking propagandists and those who would mystify rather than write truth.” —Jewish Exponent
Power & Powerlessness in Jewish History by David Biale