Chabad at Stanford
Wisdom Center
Reflections on Jewish History Bookmark and Share
Reflections on Jewish History
By: Paul Johnson

It was in vain that we locked them up for several hundred years behind the walls of the Ghetto. No sooner were their prison gates unbarred, then they easily caught up with us, even on those paths which we opened up without their aid."
-A. A. Leroy Beaulieu

"The Jew gave us the Outside and the Inside – our outlook and our inner life. We can hardly get up in the morning or cross the street without being Jewish. We dream Jewish dreams and hope Jewish hopes. Most of our best words, in fact – new, adventure surprise, unique, individual, person, vocation, time, history, future, freedom, progress, spirit, faith hope, justice - are the gifts of the Jews."
-Thomas Cahill

"One of the gifts of the Jewish culture to Christianity is that it has taught Christians to think like Jews, and any modern man who has not learned to think as though he were a Jew can hardly be said to have learned to think at all."
-William Rees-Mogg

"The Jewish vision became the prototype for many similar grand designs for humanity, both divine and man made. The Jews, therefore, stand at the center of the perennial attempt to give human life the dignity of a purpose." 
-Paul Johnson

"As long as the world lasts, all who want to make progress in righteousness will come to Israel for inspiration as to the people who had the sense for righteousness most glowing and strongest."
-Matthew Arnold

"The study of history of Europe during the past centuries teaches us one uniform lesson: That the nations which received and in any way dealt fairly and mercifully with the Jew have prospered; and that the nations that have tortured and oppressed him have written out their own curse."
Olive Schreiner

"If there is any honour in all the world that I should like, it would be to be an honorary Jewish citizen."
-A. L. Rowse

  1. Anatole Leroy Beaulieu, French historian. Israel among the nations, p.162. 1893; Ibid, p.174.
  2. Thomas Cahill, The Gifts of the Jews, Doubleday, New York, 1998, p. 240-41.
  3. William Rees Mogg, The Times, quoted by Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Radical Then, Radical Now, Harper Collins, London, 2000, p 4.
  4. Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, Weindenfeld & Nicolsohn, London, 1987, p 2.
  5. Matthew Arnold, Literature and Dogma, Smith, Elder, London, 1876, p 58
  6. Olive Schreiner, South African novelist, quoted by Chief Rabbi J. H. Hertz, A Book of Jewish Thought, Oxford University Press, 1966, p. 177, 180; Ibid., p. 180
  7. A.L. Rowse, Historians I Have Known, Duckworth, London, 1995. 
    * All of the above quoted authors are Gentiles