Download e-book for kindle: A Chosen Calling: Jews in Science in the Twentieth Century by Noah J. Efron

By Noah J. Efron

ISBN-10: 1421413825

ISBN-13: 9781421413822

Students have struggled for many years to provide an explanation for why Jews have succeeded extravagantly in smooth technological know-how. numerous arguable theories—from such intellects as C. P. Snow, Norbert Wiener, and Nathaniel Weyl—have been promoted. Snow hypothesized an advanced genetic predisposition to clinical good fortune. Wiener advised that the breeding behavior of Jews sustained hereditary features conducive for studying. Economist and eugenicist Weyl attributed Jewish highbrow eminence to "seventeen centuries of breeding for scholars."

Rejecting the concept that Jews have performed good in technological know-how due to uniquely Jewish characteristics, Jewish brains, and Jewish conduct of brain, historian of technology Noah J. Efron techniques the Jewish affinity for technology in the course of the geographic and cultural situations of Jews who have been pressured to settle in new worlds within the early 20th century.

Seeking aid from spiritual persecution, hundreds of thousands of Jews resettled within the usa, Palestine, and the Soviet Union, with huge concentrations of settlers in ny, Tel Aviv, and Moscow. technology performed a wide position within the lives and livelihoods of those immigrants: it was once a common strength that transcended the arbitrary outdated global orders that had lengthy ensured the exclusion of all yet a couple of Jews from the seats of energy, wealth, and public esteem. even though the 3 locations have been a long way aside geographically, the hyperlinks one of the groups have been enduring and lively. This shared experience—of dealing with the long run in new worlds, either actual and conceptual—provided a new release of Jews with possibilities in contrast to any their mom and dad and grandparents had known.

The tumultuous fresh century of Jewish historical past, which observed either a methodical crusade to blot out Europe's Jews and the inexorable absorption of Western Jews into the societies during which they now dwell, is illuminated by means of where of honor technological know-how held in Jewish imaginations. technological know-how used to be valuable to their desires of making new worlds—welcoming worlds—for a persecuted people.

This provocative paintings will attract historians of technological know-how in addition to students of faith, Jewish reports, and Zionism.


Noah Efron's a selected Calling is a clean and impressive exploration of the keenness with which Jews have celebrated technology, and of the mythical contrast with which they've got practiced technology in 3 significant domains... Efron exhibits that during all 3 circumstances, Jews dropped at their novel situations a force for complete participation in a global the place they'd been denied that participation, and he exhibits, additional, that the universalist ethos of technological know-how supplied a uniquely robust technique of participating.

(David A. Hollinger, college of California, Berkeley)

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However, before looking at this phenomenon as reflected in Inquisition documents, whether prior or subsequent to the Expulsion of the Jewish community in 1492, the phenomenon of crypto-Judaism itself must be considered. This very term, crypto-Judaism, denotes the existence of a clandestine religion which could not be identical to Judaism, and thus its practices are characterized by lacunae as well as by addenda. At the same time, the ever present threat of the Inquisition must not be overlooked; never knowing who was a potential informer made observance difficult and dangerous, even in one's own home.

25. Strauss, 127. 26. Loc. cit. 27. Netanyahu maintains that it is unlikely Plato's statements in the Laws in favor of a government integrating monarchic and democratic elements influenced Abravanel. See Netanyahu, 308, n. 66. 28. "The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many govern with a view to the common interest. . Of forms of government in which one rules, we call that . . kingship or royalty . " Aristotle, Politics, in The Basic Works of Aristotle, trans.

He defends the legitimacy of Jewish tradition in the face of the more ambitious and even skeptical philosophical claims made, in the name of tradition, by Maimonides. Maimonides identified Judaism with perfect law in the Platonic sense, the prophet-lawgiver being the philosopher-king. But Abravanel decisively denies that philosophy is a constitutive element in prophecy. This means that the domain of the prophetic is much less a subject of political philosophy, which is thereby more restricted and limited.

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A Chosen Calling: Jews in Science in the Twentieth Century by Noah J. Efron

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