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Internet Jewish History Sourcebook

Editor: Paul Halsall



This page is a subset of texts derived from the three major online Sourcebooks listed below, along with added texts and web site indicators. For more contextual information, for instance about Western imperialism, the Islamic world, or the history of a given period, check out these web sites.

Notes: In addition to direct links to documents, links are made to a number of other web resources.
2ND
Link to a secondary article, review or discussion on a given topic.
WEB
Link to a website focused on a specific issue.. These are not links to every site on a given topic, but to sites of real value.

Contents

  • The People of Israel
    • Pre-Israelite Canaan/Palestine/Syria
    • The Bible as a Source
    • Ethnogenesis
    • Moses and Monotheism
    • Conquest of the Land
    • The National Monarchy
    • Mythological Foundations
  • The Emergence of Judaism
    • General
    • Jews and Judaism in the Land of Israel
    • The First Century CE Context
    • The Qumran Sect
    • Jews in the Diaspora
    • Diaspora Religious Developments
    • The Conflict with Rome
    • Triumph of Rabbinic Judaism
    • Modern Perspectives on Ancient Israel
  • The Jewish Middle Ages
    • General
    • Jewish Communities and Individuals in Islam
    • Jewish Communities and Individuals in Christendom
    • Jews and the State in Christendom
    • Jewish Communities Outside Islam and Christendom
    • Jewish Intellectual and Religious Life
    • Christian Anti-Semitism
    • Early Modern Jewish Life
  • Jewish Life since the Enlightenment
    • The Enlightenment and the Jews
    • The Jewish Enlightenment [The Haskalah]
    • Alternate Jewish Reactions to Modernity
    • The History of the Ashkenazi in Eastern Europe
    • The History of the Sephardic Communities
    • Jewish Life in Western Europe
    • The New World Diaspora
    • Modern Jewish Religious Thought
    • The Impact of Secular Jews on ModernThought 
    • Jews and the Political Left
    • Modern AntiSemitism
    • The Shoah
    • Zionism
    • The State of Israel
    • Gender and Judaism
  • Further Resources on Jewish History

The People of Israel

Pre-Israelite Canaan/Palestine/Syria

The Bible as a Source

  • WEB Resources for Biblical Studies [Website]
  • WEB The Madain Project
    The Madain Project is an online archive of Abrahamic History and Archaeology, the study of history and archaeology with respect to the three Abrahamic Faiths without considering the religious and theological aspects.
  • 2ND Gerald A. Larue: Old Testament Life and Literature [Modern Text] [Internet Archive version here]
    The entire book is online at infidels.com. This is a "secularist" website, which attitude can be just as distorting as Biblical literalism. In this case the text is useful.
  • 2ND Gerald A. Simkins: Composition of the Pentateuch [At Internet Archive, from Creighton][Modern Account]
  • Genesis 6-9: Flood Story J and P [At Internet Archive, from Creighton]
  • Exodus 14: The Exodus According to J and P [At Internet Archive, from Creighton]
  • The Documentary Hypothesis
    • 2ND Criticism of the Documentary Hypothesis [Modern Annotated Bibliography][Internet Archive version here]
      Literalist Jews and Christians have long rejected the documentary hypothesis, and, as in this link, many modern scholars agree that it is not as simple as was proposed in the past. The problems of the Bible's creation and editing are real, however, and admission by scholars of difficulties with one theory does not indicate that these can be ignored.
Ethnogenesis

Moses and Monotheism

Conquest of the Land (1250-1000 BCE?)

  • Stele of Merneptah [At Internet Archive, from ANET]
  • Stele of Merneptah c. 1220 BCE [At Christian Answers][Image and Discussion]
  • Joshua 1-12 - aggressive account  [At Bible Gateway]
  • Judges 1-2 - peaceful account  [At Bible Gateway]
  • Wikipedia: Biblical Archeology
    The discipline known as Biblical archaeology sought to prove the text of the Bible was correct in terms of history. That is not how many current scholars see it. Quoted in the Wiki article: "This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai." This is not to deny that some kernels of history might be contained the "history books" that cover from Genesis until the mid 8th cenury BCE, but its only from the Omrid dynasty on that sources other the Bible can be used to confirm events depicted there.
  • WEB PBS Nova: Archeology of the Hebrew Bible

The National Monarchy (c.1020-586 BCE)

Mythological Foundations

Back to Index


The Emergence of Judaism

General

Jews and Judaism in the Land of Israel

  • Reforms By Hezekiah (r. 715-687 BCE): 2 Chronicles 30:1 [At Bible Gateway]
    The enforcement of Monotheism.
  • Discovery of Deuteronomy (c.621 BCE): 2 Kings 18:4, 22 [At Bible Gateway]
  • The Restoration of the Temple (c 520-515 BCE): Ezra 1-2 6:3-5 Haggai 1-2 [At Bible Gateway]
  • Nehemiah (gov. c.445-c.433) and Ezra (5th Cent. BCE) define the Jewish community.
  • Book of Judith [At Bible Gateway]
    Judith is a kind of novel, and is in the RC and Orthodox Bible, bit not the Jewish or Protestant canons. The book contains an account of conversion to Judaism (Judith 14: 6-10)
  • Editing of the Bible
    • Josephus (37 CE - after 93 CE): Against Apion See 1:8 [Project Gutenberg]
      First mention of a five-book Torah.
  • The Invention of the Synagogue
  • Samaritans
  • The Macabbees and After
    • The Revolt (175-135 BCE): I Maccabees [At Bible Gateway]
    • Hasmonean Rule (134-64 BCE)
    • Conquest By Pompey 63 BCE

The First Century CE Context

The Qumran Sect

Jews in the Diaspora

Diaspora Religious Developments

The Conflict with Rome

Triumph of Rabbinic Judaism

Modern Perspectives on Ancient Israel

Back to Index


The Jewish Middle Ages

General

Jewish Communities and Individuals in Islam

Jewish Communities and Individuals in Christendom

Jews and the State in Christendom

Jews and Economic Activity

Three facts predominate when considering the important role of Jews in the Medieval economy. In most places and times, medieval Jews were legally unable to participate in agriculture, the economic activity of the vast majority of both Christian and Muslim populations. There is a lot of evidence that scattered Jewish communities kept in contact with each other. Finally, although credit was essential to economic activity, lending money on interest (usury) was forbidden by Muslim and Christian law [although there were, in practice, many Christian money-lenders]. (Jewish law also forbids usury within the Jewish community, but permits loans to those outside).

The result of these situations was that Jewish economic activity had to focus on professional skills, trading, or credit provision.

Jewish Communities Outside Islam and Christendom

Jewish Cultures

  • WEB

Jewish Intellectual and Religious Life

  • Toledoth Yeshu A sixth-century Jewish (negative) account of Jesus. [At UPenn]. [Internet Archive version here]
  • WEB Jewish Views of Jesus a page with more texts. [Internet Archive backup here]
  • Sepher Yetzirah [or Sefer Yatzira], translated from the Hebrew by Wm. Wynn Westcott, PDF [At Public Library UK] [Internet Archive version here]
    The Sepher Yetzirah is one of the most famous of the ancient Qabalistic texts. It was first put into writing around 200 C.E. Westcott's Translation was first published in 1887
  • Judah Ha-Levi (ca 1075-1141): The Kuzari also known as The Book of Argument and Proof in Defense of the Despised Faith (Kitab al Khazari). Or here [Wikisource]
    The entire first book of the Kuzari, a philosophical treatise written by the Spanish Jewish philosopher and poet, Judah Ha-Levi. It is written in the form of a dialogue, purportedly between the king of the Khazars and the representatives of various belief systems, culminating with a rabbi.
  • Medieval Hebrew featuring THE MIDRASH [At Sacred Texts] [Internet Archive backup here]
  • Maimonides: The Guide for the Perplexed trans M. Friedländer (1903) [At Sacred Texts] [Internet Archive backup here]
  • Maimonides: The Thirteen Principles of Judaism  [At this Site]
  • Maimonides: The 613 Mitzvot  [At this Site]
  • Maimonides: The Laws and Basic Principles of the Torah  [At this Site]
  • Maimonides: The Laws Concerning Mashiach [At this Site]
    Chapters 11 & 12 of Hilchos Melachim from the Mishneh Torah of the Rambam
  • Maimonides: Oath of Maimonides and in Spanish [At Internet Archive, from einstein.com.ar]
  • The Hypertext Halacha .[At Project Genesis/torah.org]
    A translation of the Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Berurah. An excellent source for the details of Jewish religious law..
Christian Anti-Semitism Early Modern Jewish Life
  • General
  • Jewish Life in the Ottoman Empire
  • Jewish Life in Holland
    • texts
  • Jewish Life in England
    • Image: Rodrigo Lopez 1594
      Lopez was a Portugese Marrano (a "hidden Jew"), who was Queen Elizabeth's physician. He was executed for working to poison her.
    • Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593): The Jew of Malta1589 [At Project Gutenberg]
      Not merely an anti-Semitic play, since it attacks Christian hypocrisy, but the Jewish villain would be seen by an audience without any actual Jews to counter the image.
    • William Shakespeare (1564-1616): The Merchant of Venice first performed 1597?, [At Project Gutenberg]
      Surely the most famous of all early modern plays with Jewish characters. The question of whether the play is Antisemitic remains open for some commentators.
    • Image: Manasseh Ben Israel
      The man who negotiated with Oliver Cromwell for the return of Jews to England in 1655.
    • Bevis Marks Synagogue
  • Jewish Life in South America

Back to Index


Jewish Life since the Enlightenment

General

  • WEB Judaism in the Modern Age [At Calgary][Internet Archive backup here]
    Eliezer Segal's course page, with clear explanations of the variety of modern forms of Judaism.
The Enlightenment and the Jews The Jewish Enlightenment [The Haskalah] Alternate Jewish Reactions to Modernity The History of the Ashkenazi in Eastern Europe Jewish Life in Western Europe

The History of the Sephardic Communities

The New World Diaspora

Jews and the Political Left

Modern Jewish Religious Thought 

The Impact of Secular Jews on Modern Thought 

  • See the Internet Modern History Sourcebook for texts by and about Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein. Marx was the son of convert parents, Freud rejected religion, and Einstein was not conventionally religious.
  • Albert Einstein: Letter to Roosevelt Aug 2, 1939 [At OSTI], along with Roosevelt's response and the discussion by the scientific community [Internet Archive version here]
  • Albert Einstein: Science and Religion 1939 [At Einstein and Religion] ] Archive version here]

Modern Antisemitism

  • General
  • Religious Anti-Semitism
  • Racist Anti-Semitism
    • Emile Zola (1840-1902): J'accuse L'Aurore, 13 January 1898, in French [at Cnam] [Internet Archive version here] or  J'accuse [French text][At BPJJ]
      Zola's scathing attack on the Dreyfus case
    • T.S. Eliot, Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar [At Bartleby]
      Eliot, one of the greatest of 20th-century poets was, nevertheless, an anti-Semite. The casual anti-Semitism of much of the Western elite tends to be overlooked in discussions of religious and racial anti-Semitism, but was an important contributor to the tragedy of the Holocaust. [See also Eliot's The Waste Land.]
    • Henry Ford: The International Jew [Wikisource]
  • Violent Racist Anti-Semitism
  • Islamic Antisemitism
  • Sites Showing Antisemitism
    • [Section Removed]
  • Sites Analysing Antisemitism
    • 2ND Winthrop D. Jordan: Slavery and the Jews review of The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews at The Atlantic, September 1995 [At The Atlantic Magazine] [Internet Archive version here]

The Shoah [or Holocaust]

Zionism

The State of Israel

Post-World War II Jewish Thought

Gender and Judaism

Back to Index


Further Resources on Jewish History

Back to Index


© This text is copyright. The specific electronic form, and any notes and questions are copyright. Permission is granted to copy the text, and to print out copies for personal and educational use. No permission is granted for commercial use.

If any copyright has been infringed, this was unintentional. The possibility of a site such as this, as with other collections of electronic texts, depends on the large availability of public domain material from texts translated before 1927. [In the US, all texts issued before 1927 are now in the public domain. Texts published before 1964 may be in the public domain if copyright was not renewed after 28 years. This site seeks to abide by US copyright law: the copyright status of texts here outside the US may be different.] Efforts have been made to ascertain the copyright status of all texts here, although, occasionally, this has not been possible where older or non-US publishers seem to have ceased existence. Some of the recently translated texts here are copyright to the translators indicated in each document. These translators have in every case given permission for non-commercial reproduction. No representation is made about the copyright status of texts linked off-site. This site is intended for educational use. Notification of copyright infringement will result in the immediate removal of a text until its status is resolved.


NOTES:

The Internet Jewish History Sourcebook is part of the Internet History Sourcebooks Project. The date of inception was 4/8/1998. Links to files at other site are indicated by [At some indication of the site name or location]. WEB indicates a link to one of small number of high quality web sites which provide either more texts or an especially valuable overview.



The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 12 July 2024 [CV]