A few brief impressions of Robert Wolfe’s book, ‘From Habiru to Hebrews’ which I
finally got around to reading. I’m glad I read it; I’m glad it exists; the book
tells the story of the origin of the Jews, very refreshingly from a
non-religious point of view. I now appreciate from what conditions we arose, why
we are who we are, and why we do what we do. Iím placing the book on my honour
shelf beside Theodor Herzlís ìThe Jewish Stateî and Sherwin Wineís ìJudaism
Beyond God. I think the Habiru story and message are that important and
powerful. And one can only be humbled by the extent of scholarship that Robert
wears so casually as he tells it.
He tells where and how we Jews came to be, and itís a story that meets all the
criteria we could want it to meet: reason-wise, evidence-wise, myth
busting-wise, believability-wise. It just makes eminent common sense! We started
out as Habiru. Who were the Habiru? They were fugitive slaves, they were the
original freedom-fighters, and our traditions, our culture (and yes, our main
fairy tale that we tell at Passover) are all based on that marvellous pivotal
truth. And so have been our troubles, because weíve stood against despots and
slave-makers throughout history, and those despots and slave-makers have made us their scapegoats because of all the strands in Jewish thought that promote,
demand, help the world achieve ñ freedom. Apologies for the simplicity and brevity of my review. I highly recommend the book.
Michael Carin. Author of The Future Jew.