Isaac Asimov – Land of Canaan

Isaac Asimov on the Throne The main fantastic works of Asimov were read by me with delight as a child, and since then my impressions have not been updated. But the author’s popular science prose has come into my hands twice in the past year (“Words in History” and “Words on a Map”).It was thanks to this that I was already well acquainted with Isaac Asimov’s specific manner of presenting historical information (dry, monotonous, boring) and was able to focus on the content of the book without being distracted by some roughness of form. For which he was rewarded with several small discoveries.The history of the land of Canaan is a slightly camouflaged textbook on the ancient history of Israel. Asimov made an attempt (rather successful) to show the fate of a small but proud people, against the backdrop of the struggle of “big” empires. To show that in order to leave a mark on the history of mankind, it is not necessary to form these same empires.My short memory, as always, retained little of the information I read. But I still managed to remember some facts and original ideas:land of Canaan

  • Israel and Judah are not the same thing. This was the name of two related but still different tribal groups that lived separately and competed in many ways.
  • Initially, the ancient world was very religiously tolerant. It was the Jews who “invented” intolerance towards non-believers and genocide on a religious basis (which is why they themselves subsequently suffered). And from them the idea of ​​”wetting” the infidels passed into Christianity and Islam. At the heart of everything is a simple idea that “our” god is not just the most powerful – he is generally the only one.
  • Azimov honestly writes that many ideas and legends of the Old Testament are borrowed from neighboring peoples. A mortal woman giving birth to the son of a god, this is from the Greeks. The creation of the world – from someone from Mesopotamia (either the Sumerians, or the Chaldeans, I don’t remember). Dualism in the form of the struggle of God with the devil, with the support of the armies of angels and devils, was also borrowed from someone. When one hears these basic ideas not in the flow of a religious sermon, but against the backdrop of historical events, one’s attitude towards sacred texts changes. You are no longer required to make an unambiguous choice, or you unconditionally believe in all these legends, or you are rolling towards atheists. You understand that mythology, traditions and historical chronicles are one thing, but faith is another. To Believe (in God, man, the highest goal), it is not necessary to believe in the Immaculate Conception or mess around on the Sabbath.
  • Jewish happiness is not in war, but in trade. Accordingly, life was best not in short moments of independence (which took place in continuous struggle), but under the rule of large empires.
  • Being a king is a great burden. You must constantly fight with your neighbors, torture the people with taxes, kill your own heirs, or prepare yourself to die at their hands. Whatever you conquer and build with great difficulty will surely be lost in the internecine wars that follow your death. Oddly enough, there have always been ambitious people ready to accept this cross.

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