The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, UncertaintiesShaye J.D. Cohen (Berkeley: Univ. of California, 1999) 426 pp., $45
This is among the most important books on ancient Judaism to appear in recent years. More than that: Shaye Cohen’s monograph on the origins of Jewish identity is a pleasure to read, prudent in handling the evidence and yet crisply written, even when the going gets tough.