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The Stakes of HistoryOn the Use and Abuse of Jewish History for Life$
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David N. Myers

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300228939

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300228939.001.0001

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The Historian Between Remembering and Forgetting

The Historian Between Remembering and Forgetting

(p.99) Conclusion The Historian Between Remembering and Forgetting
The Stakes of History

David N. Myers

Yale University Press

The Conclusion begins by posing the question of what can be gained from the study of the past in making sense of the present. Historians today are of different minds on the question. This book is quite clear in two regards: first, modern historians have made constant identitarian investments in their work; second, this depth of engagement can and in fact does help in transforming history into a source of illumination on the present and future. For example, in thinking past the current stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, historians with deep engagements in the subject matter can use their knowledge of the past to open up new pathways of understanding through a rediscovery of discarded or neglected ideas. More generally, historians have in their toolkit an array of tools to enlighten the present. The utilities of history they have at their disposal include redemptive, ethical, advisory, and predictive functions. Especially in conflict or post-conflict situations, history can and should play a prominent part in the work of restorative justice.

Keywords:   Identitarian investment, Michael Marrus, Timothy Snyder, Yehuda Elkana, Benny Morris, Ethical function of history, Advisory function of history, Predictive function of history

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