By Noah J. Efron
Students have struggled for many years to provide an explanation for why Jews have succeeded extravagantly in smooth technology. various debatable theories—from such intellects as C. P. Snow, Norbert Wiener, and Nathaniel Weyl—have been promoted. Snow hypothesized an developed genetic predisposition to clinical luck. Wiener advised that the breeding conduct of Jews sustained hereditary characteristics conducive for studying. Economist and eugenicist Weyl attributed Jewish highbrow eminence to "seventeen centuries of breeding for scholars."
Rejecting the concept Jews have performed good in technology as a result of uniquely Jewish qualities, Jewish brains, and Jewish conduct of brain, historian of technological know-how Noah J. Efron methods the Jewish affinity for technological know-how throughout the geographic and cultural situations of Jews who have been pressured to settle in new worlds within the early 20th century.
Seeking reduction from non secular persecution, thousands of Jews resettled within the usa, Palestine, and the Soviet Union, with huge concentrations of settlers in long island, Tel Aviv, and Moscow. technological know-how performed a wide function within the lives and livelihoods of those immigrants: it used to be a common strength that transcended the arbitrary outdated international orders that had lengthy ensured the exclusion of all yet a number of Jews from the seats of strength, wealth, and public esteem. even though the 3 locations have been a long way aside geographically, the hyperlinks one of the groups have been enduring and lively. This shared experience—of dealing with the longer term in new worlds, either actual and conceptual—provided a iteration of Jews with possibilities not like any their mom and dad and grandparents had known.
The tumultuous contemporary century of Jewish historical past, which observed either a methodical crusade to blot out Europe's Jews and the inexorable absorption of Western Jews into the societies during which they now stay, is illuminated via where of honor technology held in Jewish imaginations. technological know-how used to be critical to their desires of making new worlds—welcoming worlds—for a persecuted people.
This provocative paintings will entice historians of technology in addition to students of faith, Jewish stories, and Zionism.
Noah Efron's a selected Calling is a clean and bold exploration of the keenness with which Jews have celebrated technology, and of the mythical contrast with which they've got practiced technology in 3 significant domains... Efron indicates that during all 3 instances, Jews delivered to their novel situations a force for complete participation in a global the place they'd been denied that participation, and he indicates, additional, that the universalist ethos of technological know-how supplied a uniquely robust technique of participating.
(David A. Hollinger, collage of California, Berkeley)
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Extra resources for A Chosen Calling: Jews in Science in the Twentieth Century
In the categorization of religious movements there are, broadly speaking, at least two basic strategies. The ﬁrst is to use self-deﬁnition as the index, by attending to how those whom we are studying seem to group themselves, how they seem to construct their own communal or traditional identity. At least in principle, this is the approach underlying the customary organization of textbooks that survey the “major world religions” or “religious traditions” such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and so forth.
Thus the Good is equated with the fertility god Priapus. 29 But this judgment has in fact been based largely on a reading of Justin’s myth in terms of rather monolithic modern constructions about what “the gnostic” viewpoint was. As was noted earlier, the myth in fact prescribes “lawful” sexual procreation for humans. And when after his ascent Elohim desires to destroy creation, the Good forbids such action with a remark about the benign “mutual satisfaction” from which creation originated. 30 Other allegorizations include the equation of Elohim’s union with Eden to Zeus’s having come in the form of a swan to mate with Leda, or, in the form of a shower of gold, with Danae (Ref.
Above all, it is usually pointed out, the anthropology, or teaching about the nature of humanity, is different, since “gnostic” texts are supposed to teach that all humans have within them a divine “spark” or spirit that has come from the highest divine realm and is destined to return to its original home. In Marcion’s teaching, the salvation of the souls of humans is not a return to their original spiritual realm, for they did not originate there. There is no original afﬁnity between humans and the Father.
A Chosen Calling: Jews in Science in the Twentieth Century by Noah J. Efron