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The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama Previous Broadcasts

Among Believers (Episode #102)

KQED 9: Tue, Nov 21, 2017 -- 11:00 PM

Simon Schama's epic series continues with the story of medieval Jews struggling to preserve their identity - and sometimes their lives - under the rule of Christianity and Islam. Whether labeled "Christ-killers" by the Christians or "dhimmi" (non-Muslim citizens of an Islamic community) by the Muslims, diaspora Jews built new lives and invented new ways of being Jewish in exile in the face of discrimination, blood-libels and persecution interspersed with periods of tolerance, protection and peaceful co-existence. Drawing on some of the extraordinary documents they left behind, this episode offers a vivid portrait of Jewish bankers, merchants, doctors, poets and artists flourishing in Lincoln, Cordoba, Venice and Cairo and tells the heart-rending story of their mass expulsion from Spain in 1492.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED 9: Wed, Nov 22, 2017 -- 5:00 AM

The Beginning (Episode #101)

KQED 9: Tue, Nov 14, 2017 -- 11:00 PM

The story of the Jewish experience begins 3000 years ago with the emergence of a tribal people in a contested land and their extraordinary book, the Hebrew Bible, a chronicle of their stormy relationship with a faceless, formless, jealous God. It was loyalty to this "God of Words" that defined the distinct identity of the ancient Jews and preserved it despite all that history could throw their way - war, invasion, deportation, enslavement, exile and assimilation. The story unfolds with a dazzling cast of historical characters: Sigmund Freud dying in exile in London; Victorian evangelicals and explorers following "in the footsteps" of Moses; Jewish mercenaries living, prospering and intermarrying in the pagan land of Egypt; Messianic Jews dreaming of the Apocalypse; and a Jewish historian, Josephus, who witnessed first-hand the moment when the apocalypse finally came and the Romans destroyed the Jewish High Temple in Jerusalem.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED 9: Wed, Nov 15, 2017 -- 5:00 AM
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