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 No one has characterized the Jews better than did Mohammed when he called the Jews The People of the Book. In fact, nearly all that the Jews have achieved during their existence as a people they have achieved in the of literature. Even at the time when the Jews lived in Palestine and were at the height of their power, their achievements in the field of practical civilization were poor. When the Jews disappeared as a sovereign nation from among the nations of the earth they did not leave behind them a highly developed civilization as did ancient Rome, nor did they leave behind them a highly developed science and art, as did the Greeks, but they did leave a book that subsequently became the book of humanity. The economic structure of ancient Judea was , and only the tribes living on the borderland and communicating with the peoples across the border succeeded in developing trade and commerce. The interior of Judea was an agricultural country and its inhabitants and simple-minded people without ambition to create values of civilization and without . Just as the economic structure of ancient Judea was primitive and simple, so was the political .  
The ancient Jewish state never succeeded in the individual and making him respect the authority of the State. The prophets repeatedly the people to by the law and to respect the authority of the State. This would go to indicate that, even in the best days ancient Judea has seen, individualism was supreme and the authority of the State thus weakened. We have no record of the ancient Jews ever having built great roads, or ever having been a great seafaring nation, or having done other things that would testify to their creative genius in the field of civilization.
But, on the other hand, they have created great books and have always been active in the field of literature, as have no other people on earth. It may be that their literary genius and activity absorbed all their energies, so that the literary values they created were created at the expense of the creation of values of civilization. From time immemorial to the present day, the Jews, first as a nation and then as individuals, have been busily engaged in writing books, and, besides the Bible—that became the book of humanity and that has influenced the mind of humanity more than any other book in world literature—they have written a number of books at various times and in various languages which had a striking effect on the human mind and were instrumental in shaping and framing it.
The appearance of Philo of Alexandria puzzled and amazed the entire ancient world. The Greeks themselves considered him a wonder and expressed their for him by saying that they did not know whether Plato Philonized or Philo Platonized. How Philo's writings have influenced the course of spiritual development in Europe and how they contributed shape and form to the philosophy of Christianity is known to everyone who is acquainted with the history of the European mind. authors have often asserted that part of the success of St. Paul is to be ascribed to his literary genius, his striking style and to the form of his literary expression. And how can we think of Christianity without Philo and St. Paul, though the former did not consciously contribute anything to the of Christianity?
When, during the following the of the Roman Empire, the Jews disappeared from the of European literature, the best Jewish minds were busy creating books and literary styles, which remain unique to the present day. We refer to the Talmud and Midrash or, to be more precise, to Halakhah and Hagadah. The day will come when European scholarship will pay more attention to these two marvelous books. A famous German scholar, Professor Strack, declared a few years ago that "for the last four hundred years the European peoples have studied the Bible and have worked very hard to understand it. Now, since we are better acquainted with the Bible, we will have to take up the study of the Talmud and the Midrash. Only then will we understand Judaism." Whatever place the Talmud may hold in the history of law and no matter how it is valued by great jurists, it is certainly unique in its literary style. The Talmudic style may or[93] may not be a beautiful one, but it is certainly , striking and original to the core. Literature is first of all style; what is true of the of the Talmudic style is also true of the strikingly original style of the Midrash.
At the time when the style of these two books was created the greatest representative of European literature of that period, St. Augustine, appeared and gave to Christian humanity the best book of its time, the Confessiones. The Confessiones is a striking book powerfully written. Its style is both soft and forceful; because of that it became one of the best books of the Church. Wherein, however, lies the secret of that book? What made it a success? It is the attempt to imitate the Bible, just as Nietzsche's Zarathustra took up the style of the Bible and became the best-known book of the nineteenth century. But how does St. Augustine's Confessiones compare with the Bible? In certain places it is an artificial imitation of the Bible, pure and simple, or, to be more accurate, a poor imitation of the ; only very rarely does Augustine reach the height of the true Biblical style. Because St. Augustine succeeded in imitating the style of the book which we cre............
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