In 70 CE, the Jews were an agrarian and illiterate people living
mostly in the Land of Israel and Mesopotamia. By 1492 the Jewish
people had become a small group of literate urbanites specializing
in crafts, trade, moneylending, and medicine in hundreds of places
across the Old World, from Seville to Mangalore. What caused this
radical change? "The Chosen Few "presents a new answer to this
question by applying the lens of economic analysis to the key facts
of fifteen formative centuries of Jewish history. Maristella
Botticini and Zvi Eckstein offer a powerful new explanation of one
of the most significant transformations in Jewish history while
also providing fresh insights into the growing debate about the
social and economic impact of religion.
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