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Is there still a “Jerusalem School?” Reflections on the state of Jewish historical scholarship in Israel

  • Author(s): Myers, David N.
  • et al.
Abstract

This essay examines the study of Jewish history in Israel at the juncture of two currents: the ongoing expansion of an international community of Jewish studies scholars and the waning interest in the field in Israel itself. Mindful of the latter trend, it is easy to adopt a declensionist narrative, according to which the “Jerusalem School,” with its monolithic and Palestinocentric view of the past, has run its course. And yet, that framing occludes a number of novel tendencies in Israel, arising in the present “post-post-Zionist” moment, that expand the contours of Jewish historical scholarship in productive ways. They include: the well-known and controversial work of the “New Historians;” the work of a succeeding generation of scholars who have brought new intellectual and methodological openness to the study of Zionism; the work of Israeli scholars who have introduced a new measure of reflexivity through careful examination of the history of Jewish historiography; and the work of Israeli scholars who have eschewed the once-regnant view of an “immanent causality” in Jewish history. In conclusion, the article suggests that kernels of these trends were present in the founding generation of scholars at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, though the current generation of scholars is both more critical toward the Zionist nationalist narrative and more global in its orientation.

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