By Yuri Slezkine
This masterwork of interpretative background starts with a daring statement: the trendy Age is the Jewish Age--and we're all, to various levels, Jews.
The statement is, in fact, metaphorical. however it underscores Yuri Slezkine's provocative thesis. not just have Jews tailored greater than many different teams to residing within the sleek international, they've got turn into the most effective image and conventional of recent lifestyles everywhere.
Slezkine argues that the Jews have been, in impression, one of the world's first unfastened brokers. They routinely belonged to a social and anthropological classification referred to as "service nomads," an intruder workforce focusing on the supply of products and prone. Their position, Slezkine argues, was once a part of a broader department of human exertions among what he calls Mercurians-entrepreneurial minorities--and Apollonians--food-producing majorities.
because the dawning of the trendy Age, Mercurians have taken middle degree. in truth, Slezkine argues, modernity is all approximately Apollonians changing into Mercurians--urban, cellular, literate, articulate, intellectually complex, bodily fastidious, and occupationally versatile. on account that no staff has been more proficient at Mercurianism than the Jews, he contends, those exemplary ancients at the moment are version moderns.
The booklet concentrates at the drama of the Russian Jews, together with émigrés and their offspring in the USA, Palestine, and the Soviet Union. yet Slezkine has as a lot to claim concerning the many faces of modernity--nationalism, socialism, capitalism, and liberalism--as he does approximately Jewry. Marxism and Freudianism, for instance, sprang mostly from the Jewish main issue, Slezkine notes, and either Soviet Bolshevism and American liberalism have been affected in primary methods by way of the Jewish exodus from the light of Settlement.
wealthy in its perception, sweeping in its chronology, and fearless in its research, this sure-to-be-controversial paintings is a vital contribution not just to Jewish and Russian background yet to the historical past of Europe and the United States as well.
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