Which Jewish theologians (defined below) disagree with the following conclusion:

"Jewish survival can't be [reasonably] explained in a natural way (and instead needs to be explained as a miracle)".

I'm only looking for theologians that agree to certain historical facts (that the Jews survived despite being scattered in exile and despite being persecuted) and are biased towards AGREEING to that conclusion (meaning; their belief system would be BOLSTERED by this piece of "evidence" for Judaism), yet they explicitly write that they aren't willing to cite Jewish survival as evidence for a miracle.

Definition of theologian for the purpose of this question:

Published (or quoted by) a book/academic paper etc that INCLUDES (but doesn't have to be limited to) alleged evidence for Judaism.

  • The structure of this question in its current form might be too broad. Does anyone have a suggestion how I can make it more focused? Also, "theologian" is probably the wrong word, but I couldn't think of anything more appropriate.
    – Tzvi K
    Feb 5, 2023 at 7:07
  • welcome to Mi Yodeya. I am not sure if the positions of non-Jewish scholars are considered off-topic on this forum.
    – bondonk
    Feb 5, 2023 at 7:09
  • It depends on what you mean by survival. In what sense? Religious, ethnic, genetic? In my opinion, it is not possible to say that the three survived stricto sensu, in the religious field to think that Judaism did not suffer from some degree of external influence is to ignore the discoveries, ethnic survival is also not possible to say, because what would make the difference? There are Jews from all over the world and as far as we know endogamy is not central among Jews, there is a lot of genetic diversity.
    – Thales
    Feb 5, 2023 at 13:39
  • 1
    What make you think/believe/know that such Jewish theologians answering your criteria might/do exist?
    – Tamir Evan
    Feb 5, 2023 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


While I have trouble imagining a theologian making this case, it has certainly been made by secular historians. For example, in their book The Chosen Few: How Education Shaped Jewish History, 70-1492, historians Maristella Botticini and Zvi Eckstein make the case that Jewish history in the period from destruction of the Second Temple to the expulsion from Spain was shaped by a process of self-selection, where those who chose to be educated, often becoming urban commercial agents, were those who remained Jews whereas many, perhaps the majority, of people did not follow this path and became assimilated into their host nations. This book looks in detail at the process by which a mostly rural agricultural people with only a small minority of educated elites became "The Jews" as we think of us today: valuing education and scholarship and seeing that as an integral part of our survival mechanism.

The book eschews any supernatural causes of Jewish survival, favoring instead a naturalistic and scientific approach where education and adaptation to urban settings allowed them to fill an economic niche while also providing needed intellectual and cultural stability to withstand the historical forces around them. In simple terms, this process of self-selection means that those Jews who adapted to this new social model were able to survive as a distinct culture whereas those who were not able to adapt did not.

  • 2
    As this answer doesn't seem to answer the question as asked (it doesn't even support it's statement of "I have trouble imagining a theologian making this case"), [a condensed version of] it would better serve as a comment to the question itself. -1
    – Tamir Evan
    Feb 5, 2023 at 14:05

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