Lecture: “The Chosen Few: How Education Shaped Jewish History?,” Dr. Dan Goldenberg, H-132, 5:40PM November 30 (EN)

The Department of Archaeology cordially invites you to a lecture given by Dr. Dan Goldenberg on Wednesday, November 30, at FEASS, H-132, starting at 5:40 p.m.

Light refreshments will be served.

The Chosen Few: How education shaped Jewish history?

Dr. Dan Goldenberg

This talk will address the question of Jewish success in sciences and their reputation as highly educated people. For example, the Jews, who are less than 1% of the world population, won more than 20% of the Nobel prizes.

In my talk, I shall propose one possible explanation, which is connected to the religious transformation in Jewish religion during the 1st century CE. After the following destruction of the second Temple by the Romans, Judaism replaced the sacrifice in the Temple with reading the Torah (Bible)in the Synagogue and called fathers to teach their sons how to read. Thus, the Jewish people became much more literate compared to other people in antiquity.
The advantage of literacy brought the Jews to prefer “urban” occupations, such as trade, craft and money lending, rather than agriculture, and along late antiquity and the middle ages Jews settled in town and earned their living from trade and banking. This proposed argument will be supported by both historical evidence in Jewish sources and archaeological evidence, regarding the urban nature of Jewish settlements, the development of synagogues in late antiquity, etc.