By S. M. Dubnow

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Introduction to Weber's Allgemeine Weltgeschichte, i, pp. ) Chronologically considered, these latter nations, of a higher type, are usually divided into three groups: 1, the most ancient civilized peoples of the Orient, such as the Chinese, the Hindoos, the Egyptians, the Chaldeans; 2, the ancient or classic peoples of the Occident, the Greeks and the Romans; and 3, the modern peoples, the civilized nations of Europe and America of the present day. The most ancient peoples of the Orient, standing "at the threshold of history," were the first heralds of a religious consciousness and of moral principles.

It was in Canaan, however, that the shepherd people hailing from Arabia showed the first signs of approaching disintegration. Various tribal groups, like Moab and Ammon, consolidated themselves. They took permanent foothold in the land, and submitted with more or less readiness to the influences exerted by the indigenous peoples. The guardianship of the sublime traditions of the tribe remained with one group alone, the "sons of Jacob" or the "sons of Israel," so named from the third Patriarch Jacob.

This is the soil in which, deep down, lies imbedded, as an unconscious element, the Jewish national feeling, and as a conscious element, the Jewish national idea. It follows that the Jewish national idea and the national feeling connected with it have their origin primarily in the historical consciousness, in a certain complex of ideas and psychic predispositions. These ideas and predispositions, the deposit left by the aggregate of historical impressions, are of necessity the common property of the whole nation, and they can be developed and quickened to a considerable degree by a renewal of the impressions through the study of history.

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