Ethnicity in the Ancient World — Did It Matter?The review goes on to point out that ancient Greeks kept barbarian slaves, and that the Bible speaks favorably of killing for miscegenation. Many noticed ethnicity:
Erich S. Gruen
“The idea of an immutable character determining the nature of a people or an ethnic group finds few takers today,” he tells us. Never mind, of course, that to be a “taker” of this view is to be exiled from modern academia, which might explain why there are “few.”
Gruen says his purpose is to demonstrate that “ancient societies generally shunned the sense of ethnicity as an undeviating marker of distinctiveness stemming from descent, and that they were therefore open to change, adaptation, intermingling, and incorporation. In our contemporary age when ethnic identity has become increasingly fraught and divisive, those characteristics can offer a salutary corrective.”
In other words, the ancients were woke.
Herodotus, sometimes known as the “father of history,” is often described as the world’s first ethnographer. Indeed, his writings are replete with his observations — sometimes first-hand, other times heard from others — about the races and ethnicities of the world.So why would a Jewish professor be so eager to write a book denying obvious facts about ancient ethnicities?
And, as Guillaume Durocher notes:
Herodotus’ world certainly featured peaceful commerce, cultural exchange, and ethnic intermarriage among these peoples — the historian is quite broad-minded and free of chauvinism in this respect. But, as Herodotus makes clear, this was also a world of extreme ethnocentrism and brutal wars.
The review does not say, but the obvious inference is that the Jewish religion is based on extreme ethnocentrism for the Jews, while denying it for anyone else.