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By Paul Johnson

A countrywide bestseller, this incredible 4000 12 months survey covers not just Jewish background yet he effect of Jewish genius and mind's eye at the international. by way of the writer of contemporary occasions: the realm From the Twenties to the Eighties.

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82 Wherever else Moses got his ideas, whether religious or legal (and the two, of course, were inseparable in his mind), it was certainly not Egypt. Indeed the work of Moses can be seen as a total repudiation of everything that ancient Egypt stood for. As with Abraham’s migration 30 / A HISTORY OF THE JEWS from Ur and Haran to Canaan, we must not assume that the Israelite exodus from Egypt was dictated purely by economic motives. This was not just an escape from hardship. There are indeed hints in the Bible that the hardships were endurable; Moses’ horde often hankered for ‘the flesh-pots of Egypt’.

In Mosaic theology, man is made in God’s image, and so his life is not just valuable, it is sacred. To kill a man is an offence against God so grievous that the ultimate punishment, the forfeiture of life, must follow; money is not enough. The horrific fact of execution thus underscores the sanctity of human life. Under Mosaic law, then, many men and women met their deaths whom the secular codes of surrounding societies would have simply permitted to compensate their victims or their victims’ families.

But there the resemblance ends. Joseph was the great minister-statesman of an alien ruler, the pattern of many Jews over the next 3,000 years. He was clever, quick, perceptive, imaginative; a dreamer, but more than a dreamer, a man with the creative ability to interpret complex phenomena, to forecast and foresee, to plan and administer. Quiet, industrious, able in all economic and financial affairs, the master also of many forms of arcane knowledge, he knew well how to serve power and exploit it on behalf of his people.

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