Prof. Kevin MacDonald has invested a vast intellectual effort in constructing a historical or more exactly an anecdotal narrative consistent with the premise of Jewish ethnocentrism. But of course we are ethnocentric, show me one who isn't. Anyway, when I read Cochran and Harpending's paper on Ashkenazi intelligence, one of my objections was their belief that Jews did not have a reputation of being smart in the ancient world. Now, surprisingly, I find that Prof. Kevin MacDonald agrees with me (well, not exactly, how to put it, independently we both found wrong the same idea of Greg Cochran). He writes:
If you look at Jewish religious writings, such as the Mishnah (2nd century AD) and the Talmuds (4th and 6th century), their elites were at a very high level. And it should be remembered that until the Enlightenment, the vast majority of Jewish scholarship was directed within the Jewish community, rather than at science or philosophy. As a result, Jewish intelligence may not have been apparent to non-Jews. In the ancient world, Jewish education was the norm and the system where scholars benefited with advantageous marriages was already in place. And in any case, the historical record supports the idea that Jews were quite successful economically in the ancient world. After the failed rebellions against the Romans during the 1st and 2nd century, Jews achieved a very prominent economic position in the Roman Empire and dominated some industries, so the familiar pattern of Jews as an elite group was well underway at that time. ...In short, Jews in the ancient world had all of the characteristics associated with later Ashkenazi populations: Economic preeminence, an occupational profile emphasizing business, finance, trading, and manufacturing, high levels of education, and a scholarly elite producing complex, religious writing. Scholarship was an excellent means to achieve upward mobility and presumably greater than average reproductive success.I would also add that all the peoples that came into contact with the brilliant Greek civilization, soon were assimilated into the Hellenistic world. The Jews were rather unimpressed by Greek philosophy, and they were the only people able to stand up to Plato with a coherent ideological opposition. They soon out debated - in Greek and in Athens - the best sophists, and in a few generations paganism was eradicated for good.
MacDonald discovers that the Puritans had formed a compact ethnic-religious entity in New England that had many of the eugenic characteristics of the Jewish nation, and from 21,000 middle-class English pilgrims has grown to 16,000,000 in 250 years. I could add that the Puritans were consciously modelling their society on Jewish ideas, they called themselves with Biblical names like Abraham, Phineas, Ezra, etc. and learned Hebrew and considered themselves in many ways real Jews. MacDonald says that this nation disappeared for lack of territorial control. The Yankees were certainly a very notable people (I admire them from my childhood adventure books with drawings of very tall and very slim Puritan Indian traders). It was themselves that decided to fight and conquer the South and open up their country to foreign immigration - and millions of Germans and Irish were admitted much before any "ethnocentric" Jewish influence could subvert American immigration policy.
In the pic, Cotton Mather (1663-1728), the best-known New England Puritan divine of his generation, was a formidable intellect and a prodigious writer, Mather published some 450 books and pamphlets. He was at the center of all of the major political, theological, and scientific controversies of his era.He also needed a haircut.