Published: 01/11/2013
ISBN: 9781783061587
eISBN: 9781783068807
Format: Paperback/eBook

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About the Author

Current position: Professor Emeritus of Surgery and visiting Prof. of Medical Humanities, University College London. Michael Baum qualified in medicine at Birmingham University medical school in 196... read more

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The Third Tablet of the Holy Covenant
by Michael Baum

Michael Baum was inspired by his experiences living in Israel and working on the archeological excavation of Masada, and draws on his family history of breast cancer and his Ashkenazi heritage in The Third Tablet of the Holy Covenant. He skilfully blends the molecular and biblical genealogy of the Jewish people with the fictitious search for an ancient relic to produce a gripping semi-autobiographical novel.

The story follows Martin Tanner, who grows up in a poor Jewish family in the East End of London during the Second World War. A brilliant student, he goes on to qualify as a surgeon at University College London, learning along the way that his family is cursed with the Ashkenazi mutation, a defect in the DNA coding that leads to an increased risk of cancer.

Martin is faced with many trials, including his mother undergoing a radical mastectomy and her subsequent suicide whilst he is serving in the RAMC during the Suez crisis. He immigrates to Israel in 1960 and serves as medical officer on the Masada dig in 1963 where he meets and falls in love with Sara, a nurse who suffers the same fate as his mother.

The tragedy of Martin’s life is coupled with the discovery of the ‘Eliezer Scroll’ on the dig, which provides evidence that a codicil to the Mosaic tablets of the holy covenant could exist. The translation of these scrolls reveals that twin sisters escaped from the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 CE, carrying with them holy relics from the Temple...

This book combines the quest for a biblical relic from the second Temple in Jerusalem, with the biblical and genetic anthropology of the Jewish people. Michael Baum uses passages of humour mixed with pathos, jogging along with the pace of a detective story.

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"Breast Beating: one man's odyssey in the search for an understanding of breast cancer, the meaning of life and other easy questions" Anshan publishers, 2010, Short listed for Peoples book prize 2011
Michael Baum is both a pioneer and a visionary in the fight against Breast cancer. In this brutally honest biography, he shares the highs and lows of both the personal and professional battles he has faced in his life which continues to be dedicated to the improvement of the quality and length of lives of his cancer patients.
In this biography, we travel with Baum through the history of breast cancer, interwoven with the influences of his family, friends and Judaism, often clouded by a bittersweet relationship with the British health system.
Baum also gives the reader an insight into the role Holism in medicine and the benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach, from art, literature, mathematics and philosophy, and their contribution to better understanding both disease and treatment. He also discusses the dichotomy of hard-earned progress through dedicated cancer research and the parallel of a dramatic growth in disproven `Alternative Medicine'.
Breast cancer survivors are reminded of the debt of gratitude they owe to both Baum and other scientists who "think outside the box" and are prepared to fight for their conviction. The book is also a testimony to the patients who volunteer for clinical trials, often at great risk, so that the progress in treatments can go forward based on solid research, so that future generations can benefit from their devastating diagnosis.
A riveting and easy to read book about the life of a living legend that I just couldn't put down.
Loretta Marron
Breast Cancer Survivor

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