If it be true that our people represent a high percentage of mental vigor, the distinction is probably due, in some measure, to the extremely important part which Talmud studies have played in the spiritual life of the race.
The Jews invented a portable religion in the shape of the Bible, the Torah, and eventually the Talmud, and with other portable forms of writing. So it's now possible to carry the religion, that is embedded in that writing, away from the ruins of political and military power.
I'm a Larry David fan, right? And it seems to me that Jewish history from the Talmud on has been a self-deprecating, self-critical kind of humor.
I am a sworn atheist and therefore from my point of view the Talmud or the Koran don't constitute works of political philosophy but rather writings that stand in utter contradiction to concepts like logic, freedom, feminism, secularism, brotherhood - which are my ideals.
David Starr Jordan