This chapter reviews the transcendent master narratives that structured the telling of Jewish history in earlier generations. It mentions Eli Lederhendler who wrote in 1994 that history on a grand scale is a model no one can longer choose. It also looks at the selection of a red thread of continuity or an “essence” of the Jewish experience, that imposes a superstructure base and then chooses a defining characteristic of each successive “stage” of development. The chapter discusses the expansion of the arena of modern Jewish history that introduces less well-known actors and examines emotional states and mundane behaviours. It explains the normalization of Jewish historiography that was linked to the decline of antisemitism beginning in the 1960s, and in turn to the integration of Jewish studies into American universities and colleges.
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