What Ifs of Jewish History: From Abraham to Zionism
Edited by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld
Cambridge University Press
406 pages (including notes)
What if you had made a different choice at a key moment in your life? A different career, a different school, a different mate. Would your life be significantly different today?
These are the type of questions that are posed in what – according to Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, a respected historical scholar – is the emerging field of study of counterfactual histories. In building counterfactual histories, one must examine the elements of a historical situation at the moment when a key element or decision of the time could have been reversed or changed. One must then extrapolate into the future known economic, political and social pressures and influences of the time, given a particular change in the key element being looked at, which has itself to be justified by counterfactual possibilities in the history of that period. It is hoped that, in this way, historical processes can be more thoroughly analyzed and understood. [Read more…]