Simon Schama

March 13, 2014 - Simon Schama 03/13/2014 Views: 14,750

Historian Simon Schama discusses "The Story of the Jews," his PBS documentary exploring Jewish history from 1000 B.C. to 1492. (6:31)

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ).

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS AN EMMY-WINNING HISTORIAN WITH A

NEW DOCUMENTARY "THE STORY OFTHE JEWS."

PLEASE WELCOME SIMON SCHAMA.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )SIMON, GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

NICE TO HAVE YOU BACK.

THIS IS YOUR THIRD TIME HERE.

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM.

>> IT IS.

YOU KEEP ASKING ME BACK.

>> Stephen: THE FIRST TWOTIMES WERE PRETTY CHARMING

ALREADY, SO NO PRESSURE.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO MAY NOTKNOW, YOU'RE A PROFESSOR OF ART

HISTORY AND HISTORY AT COLUMBIAUNIVERSITY HERE IN NEW YORK.

YOU'VE WRITTEN AND PRESENTED 40DOCUMENTS FOR THE BBC, PBS, FOR

THE HISTORY CHANNEL, INCLUDINGTHE EMMY AWARD-WINNING "THE

POWER OF ART."

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: NOW, YOU'VE GOT ATWO-BOOK, FIVE-PART DOCUMENTARY

SERIES CALLED THE STORY OF THEJEWS, WHICH PREMIERES 8:00 P.M.

ON TUESDAY, MARCH 25.

THE BOOK DROPS-->> AND APRIL THE FIRST.

>> Stephen: APRIL THE FIRST?

>> ANOTHER THREE HOURS OF JEWS.

>> Stephen: WOW.

>> YES.

( APPLAUSE ).

>> Stephen: "TONIGHT!

THREE HOURS OF JEWS."

>> IT GETS EVEN BETTER OR WORSE.

YOU HAVE DO A JEW-A-THON.

A MARATHON ON APRIL, FIVEHOURS-- THAT'S TOO MANY JEWS

EVEN FOR ME.

>> Stephen: WOW.

THE BOOK IS CALLED "THE STORY OFTHE JEWS, FINDING THE WORDS,

1,000 B TO 1492."

WHAT HAPPENS IN 1,000 BC, ANDWHAT HAPPENS IN 1492.

WAS COLUMBUS JEWISH?

>> IT'S BEEN RUMORED HE WAS.

A LOT OF THOSE WERE CALLED NEWCHRISTIANS.

>> Stephen: OH, OKAY.

>> THE CONVERTS, ACTUALLY.

>> Stephen: IS THAT THE POLITETHING TO CALL JEWS?

I'LL KEEP THAT IN MIND.

>> YOU'RE A GOOD CATHOLIC BOY.

>> Stephen: I AM.

>> A NEW CHRISTIAN.

SHE HAD A SERPENT ON A BAGEL INHER BACKGROUND.

>> Stephen: SIMON, DO YOUHAVE BAGEL YOUR BACKGROUND?

>> I DO.

>> SO YOU'RE JEWISH?

>> I AM.

>> Stephen: ARE YOU ANOBSERVANT JEW?

>> I GO TO SYNAGOGUE -->> Stephen: THAT FIRST SOUND

WAS YIDDISH.

>> YES, IT WAS.

IT WAS SHIFTISH.

EXACTLY.

I GO TO SYNAGOGUE TO CONFESS MYSINS OF WHICH THERE ARE MANY ON

YOM KIPPUR.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO COME.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> YOU'RE ON.

>> Stephen: SO WHAT HAPPENSIN 1,000 B.C.

>> KING DAVID, BASICALLY.

AND IT'S 1,000 BECAUSE ACTUALLYWE KNOW THAT-- THERE IS SOME

ARCHAEOLOGY, ACTUALLY, THAT NOWSUGGESTS THERE REALLY WERE

FORTRESSES.

WE'RE DISCOVERING EARLY HEBREWWRITINGS.

IT'S VERY EXCITING ACTUALLY.

>> Stephen: ONE OF THE MOSTSURPRISING THINGS, I UNDERSTAND

EARLY ARCOLOGICAL EVIDENCE SHOWSTHERE WAS A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF

PAGANISM INVOLVED IN JEWISHLIFE.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: HOW?

ISN'T THE WHOLE THING THATTHEY'RE MONOTHEIST AND INVENTED

THAT.

>> YES, THAT'S ABSOLUTELY TRUE.

GOD IS SUPPOSED TO BE FORMLESS,FACELESS, INVISIBLE.

HE'S NUMBER ONE.

"THOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODBEFORE ME."

MEANING THERE'S A LINE QUEUINGUP, ACTUALLY.

>> Stephen: IT WASN'T THATTHERE WEREN'T OTHER GODS.

IT'S "I'M YOUR STEADY."

>> EXACTLY.

"I'M YOUR STEADY AND I'MACTUALLY SERIOUSLY NUMBER ONE

AND I CAN MAKE THE OTHERSONES GO AWAY IF I WANT TO."

IT'S ONLY WITH-- PALESTINE, THEHOLY LAND, ISRAEL IS FULL OF

THESE LITTLE FIGURINES, SOME OFWHOM REPRESENTED THE WIFE OF GOD

ASHARA.

>> WHAT HAPPENED TO HER?

>> SHE WAS WRITTEN OUT.

>> Stephen: DID THE RABBI GETA DIVORCE.

>> THE FIGURINES-- HAVE YOU EVERSEEN THEM.

>> Stephen: NO.

>> THEY WERE CUTE.

THEY WERE GODDESSES OF THEHEARTH AND THEY ALWAYS ARE WELL

ENDOWED, AND THEY'RE HOLDINGTHEIR ENDOWMENTS.

THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF THESE -->> Stephen: REALLY, SO THERE

ARE LADIES THERE-->> YOU'RE DOING IT EXACTLY

RIGHT.

>> Stephen: SISTERS DOING ITFOR THEMSELVES?

>> EXACTLY.

>> Stephen: WOW.

>> SO THE RABBIS WERE UNEASYWITH THAT.

DD CUP, DOUBLE D CUP-- IT'SABSOLUTELY TRUE.

>> Stephen: WHAT-- I KNOWTHEY STARTED MONOTHEISM AND

WROTE THE BIBLE AND ALL THATGOOD STUFF.

WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR MELATELY?

AND I DON'T MEAN-- I DON'T MEANJUST MY WRITERS.

>> JERRY SEINFELD.

>> Stephen: OKAY, BUT THAT'SAFTER 1492.

WHAT ARE GREATEST--( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

IS JUDAISM-- IS IT A RELIGIONOR IS IT A CULTURE.

IF IT'S JUST A CULTURE, I WANTTO DENY MY WRITERS THE ABILITY

TO TAKE OFF THEIR CRAZYHOLIDAYS.

I'M SORRY, TO GET BACK TO THEQUESTION I INTERRUPTED YOU FROM

ANSWERING, IS JUDAISM-->> JEWS COMMUNICATE BY AGREED

MUTUAL INTERRUPTION.

SO NOW, YOU'RE EVEN MORE JEWISHTHAN YOU YOU THINK YOU ARE.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

BY THE TIME THIS IS OVER.

>> YOU'LL BE CIRCUMCISED -->> Stephen: EXACTLY.

MAYBE SO, MAYBE SO.

>> EXACTLY.

>> Stephen: IS IT A CULTURE ORA RELIGION?

>> IT STARTS WITH RELIGION.

IT HAS TO START WITH RELIGION,BUT RELIGION IS KIND OF

ELASTIC.

WHO DRAWS THE PRECISE RULES.

I ONCE GAVE A LECTURE-- WISHYOU'VE BEEN THERE-- ARE LOWKUS

KOSHER."

>> Stephen: ARE THEY?

>> IF YOU READ LEVITICUS, THEYARE CONSIDERED CRUNCHY BIRDS.

SO THE RULES OF THE RELIGION AREKIND OF SQUISHY AND, YOU KNOW,

MOVE AROUND A BIT.

>> Stephen: ARE YOU IMPLYINGTHERE MIGHT BE PARTS OF THE

BIBLE THAT ARE CONTRADICTORY?

( APPLAUSE ).

>> DOES THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY?

>> Stephen: IS THERE ANOTHERBOOK COMING AFTER 1492?

>> THERE IS, THERE IS, VOLUME 2.

>> Stephen: WHAT HAPPENSAFTER 1492?

>> IT FINISHES WITH OURCONVERSATION THIS EVENING.

>> Stephen: REALLY SIMON,SOUNDS LIKE A HIT.

SIMON SCHAMA, "THE STORY OF THEJEWS," THE BOOK, PBS, WALL TO

WALL JEWS. WE'LL BE