By Michael Brenner
Prophets of the Past is the 1st publication to check intensive how smooth Jewish historians have interpreted Jewish heritage. Michael Brenner finds that maybe no different nationwide or spiritual team has used their shared heritage for thus many various ideological and political reasons because the Jews. He deftly strains the grasp narratives of Jewish heritage from the beginnings of the scholarly research of Jews and Judaism in nineteenth-century Germany; to japanese eu methods through Simon Dubnow, the interwar tuition of Polish-Jewish historians, and the short-lived efforts of Soviet-Jewish historians; to the paintings of British and American students akin to Cecil Roth and Salo Baron; and to Zionist and post-Zionist interpretations of Jewish historical past. He additionally unravels the distortions of Jewish heritage writing, together with antisemitic Nazi study into the "Jewish question," the Soviet portrayal of Jewish historical past as type fight, and Orthodox Jewish interpretations of heritage as divinely inspired.
History proved to be a uniquely strong weapon for contemporary Jewish students in the course of a interval once they had no state or military to struggle for his or her ideological and political ambitions, even if the aim used to be Jewish emancipation, diasporic autonomy, or the construction of a Jewish country. As Brenner demonstrates during this illuminating and incisive publication, those historians frequently discovered legitimacy for those struggles within the Jewish past.