Sunday 24 September 2017

More confusing than enlightening

John Boland

I had looked forward to watching the five-part Simon Schama series, The Story of the Jews (BBC Two), but the first instalment made very heavy weather of introducing its chronicle to a gentile population.

Choosing to start with self-confessed "godless Jew" Sigmund Freud in London and continuing with findings from archaelological digs in the Valley of Elah proved confusing rather than enlightening, though there were a few good soundbites along the way.

"Is Jewish culture a matter of always expecting the worst?" Schama asked at a Passover dinner, to which a friend replied in the affirmative, arguing that it was all a question of "paranoia confirmed by history".

Irish Independent

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