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Following what may be conventionally called the Jewish ethno-cultural model and tracing its performance throughout history, Alexander Militarev's book is the first scholarly attempt to apply a synthetic, comprehensive approach to the Jewish phenomenon - an alternative to the metaphysical and religious ones - and to evaluate it in the comparative context. In highlighting the unique and disproportionately great Jewish contributions (and the recent Russian Jewish contribution, in particular) to the human civilisation, it poses as its main question: 'Why the Jews?' Militarev dedicates his book to the analysis of the Jewish phenomenon, its manifold reasons and consequences, couched as an essay replete with unexpected conclusions and debatable hypotheses. Laying bare the 'kitchen' of scholarly research, Militarev embarks on a scholarly adventure akin to a film-noir who-dunnit, complete with intrigue, the need for stringent self-control, inexorable doubts, the thrill of the chase after the enigma's solution.
Alexander Militarev is a linguist, lecturer, University educator, and researcher in comparative Semitic and Afroasiatic linguistics, Jewish, Biblical, Near Eastern, African studies and the application of linguistic methods to ethno-cultural history. Militarev is the author of, among many publications, the Comparative and Historical Lexicon of Afroasiatic Languages and the Semitic Etymological Dictionary and a professor of History and Philology of the Ancient East at the Institute of Oriental and Classic Studies of the Russian State University for the Humanities and Head of the Center for Hebrew and Related Ethno-Linguistic Studies in the Institute of Linguistics of the same University. Since 2001, he has served as the head of the Semitic and Afroasiatic section of the American-Russian Project "Evolution of Human Languages" in The Santa Fe Institute (Santa Fe, NM); from 1994 to 2009 he was also President of the Jewish University in Moscow.