Independent People

A History of the Jews

by Paul Johnson
For more than a millennium the Jews have been divided between Muslim and Christian countries, and there have been centuries in the Middle Ages when the intellectual influence of Arab philosophy might appear to have given a decisive direction to Hebrew thought. For reasons that Bernard Lewis can explain better …

The Jews of Italy

This essay was prepared for a meeting at Brandeis University last year in honor of Vito Volterra, the great Italian mathematician who died in 1940. Volterra had been a professor at three Italian universities—Turin, Pisa, and Rome—where I also taught. He was elected by the king to the Italian senate …

The Master of Mysticism

From Berlin to Jerusalem: Memories of My Youth

by Gershom Scholem, translated by Harry Zohn
In September 1923 two young German Jews embarked together at Trieste on their way to settle in Palestine. One, Gerhard (Gershom) Scholem, born in 1897, was soon to become the greatest Jewish historian of our century. The other, Fritz (Shlomo Dov) Goitein, born in 1900, was perhaps slower in developing, …

On the Pioneer Trail

Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas

by Isaiah Berlin
There is perhaps a slight element of prejudice in the opinion, widespread among us Piedmontese, that San Gennaro and Giambattista Vico must be left to the Neapolitans. This opinion is indeed prejudiced in so far as it does not take into account that both San Gennaro and Vico have proved …

The Greeks and Us

Democracy Ancient and Modern

by M.I. Finley

The Ancient Economy

by M.I. Finley
When Moses Finley came to England from Rutgers University in 1954 as a refugee from the McCarthy persecution he had just published his Studies in Land and Credit in Ancient Athens (1952) and was about to publish his World of Odysseus (1954). Taken together, these two books showed him to …

The Historian’s Skin


by F.W. Walbank
On June 22, 168 BC, in about one hour, the Macedonian phalanx was destroyed near home, on the fields of Pydna, by the Roman legions. In the Greek East there was no longer any organized force that could check the winners. The old monarchy of Macedon was split into four …