Jewish Genius Revisited

Back in April I blogged about Charles Murray’s Commentary article in which he theorizes about the sources of the supposed above-average intelligence of Jews. His reasoning seemed dubious to me and, judging from the letters in Commentary, I wasn’t alone.

Thankfully, Commentary‘s website has posted the full range of letters, including a response from Murray.

One of the more scathing critiques comes from Columbia University’s Patricia Williams and Robert Pollack. To Murray’s citation of the disproportionate number of Jewish Nobel Prize winners they write:

Consider that women comprise some 50 percent of the world’s population, but fewer than 5 percent of Nobel Prize winners (one of Mr. Murray’s favorite metrics). Sweden, with only one tenth of a percent of the world’s population, has contributed approximately 5 percent of Nobel laureates. Are Swedes therefore smarter than women? The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population and 21 percent of Nobel winners. Are Americans smarter than Swedes but far less smart than Jews, who while constituting a fraction of a percent of the world’s population can boast of 30 percent of Nobel laureates since 1950?


Discover More

Jewish Adoption in America

Ancient laws and modernity are brought together with the embrace of adoption in the Jewish community.

Joseph: Tzadik or Tattletale?

The complex character of Joseph raises questions about what it means to be righteous.

Lessons for Regional Planning

The biblical "migrash" principle provides a response to urban sprawl.