Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
Murray also observes that “Sephardi Jews rose to distinction in many of the countries where they settled. Some economic historians have traced the decline of Spain after 1500 [following the expulsion of the Jews], and the subsequent rise of the Netherlands, in part to the Sephardi commercial talent that was transferred from one to the other.”
Murray’s scholarly and extensively documented article cites other reasons for Jewish intellectual superiority in verbal and reasoning skills. One is a decree issued in 64 C.E. by the martyred sage Joshua ben Gamla, high priest in the last years of the Second Temple, requiring that all males be enrolled in school by age six.
“Within about a century,” Murray notes, “the Jews, uniquely among the peoples of the world, had effectively established universal male literacy and numeracy.”
Moreover, throughout the centuries, Jewish males have had to study and learn the law, a process one never completes, and to read – often aloud in public – in order to practice their faith and teach it to their children. Murray speculates that many Jews of low intelligence, who could not read well and fulfill the intellectual demands of their religion, tended to drift away from it.
Murray also cites a thesis of the geneticist Cyril Darlington and argues that Jews were “decisively shaped much earlier,” during the period of the fall of Jerusalem and captivity under Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.E. According to the Bible (2 Kings 24:10-14), only the elite among the Israelites were taken to Babylon, leaving behind the unskilled and presumably less intelligent. The king “carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour… and all the craftsmen and the smiths; none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.”
By the time the Israelites returned more than a century later, many of those remaining had been killed off or had married foreign spouses and been absorbed by other peoples. The returned exiles reconstituted a Jewish community comprised largely of descendants of its most intelligent members. Until recently, the vast majority of Jews continued to try to marry within their own group and resisted assimilation with their neighbors.
Still Murray wonders: “Why should one particular tribe at the time of Moses, living in the same environment as other nomadic and agricultural peoples of the Middle East, have already evolved elevated intelligence when others did not?”
The answer, he speculates, may be his “happily irrefutable” hypothesis, drawn from the Jews’ earliest and most famous literary work:
“The Jews are God’s chosen people.”
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
The answer is an emphatic no.
The meaning of “God’s watch” here is not entirely clear.
Don’t Israelis and Arab Palestinians deserve more than this? Is it not time to stop the insanity?
At age 104, my mother was still concerned about her relationship with Hashem.
Obama’s incompetence, the way his naive worldview and credulity have made a fool of him, are equally frightening
“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”
You’ve discovered our little secret!
Klein’s challenger has demonstrated a propensity to unleash poisonous vitriol, even to other Zionists
President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.
Welcome the book of Leviticus!
If the nationalist Knesset members don’t provide the answer, the Arab MKs will do so in their place.
International Agunah Day falls annually on Ta’anis Esther, this year on March 13.
Yeshiva University Museum recently hosted an exhibit titled “Threshold to the Sacred.”
Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.
Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell’s recent proclamation of Confederate History Month provoked a firestorm of criticism, with many accusing him and those who commemorate their Southern ancestors’ bravery of ignoring or even defending slavery.
For centuries, the question of Jewish intellectual superiority has been quietly discussed and debated. How could such a tiny, numerically insignificant group produce so many of the world’s smartest, most accomplished, most influential people?
This year, the second day of Chanukah will coincide with the 144th anniversary of the worst official act of anti-Semitism in American history.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-secret-behind-jewish-genius/2007/05/02/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online:
No related posts.