Thursday, September 3, 2009

History Quiz

I gave a quiz today to my Modern Jewish history class at Hebrew Academy with two questions and a bonus.

1. How is the historical method different from the scientific method? Does this mean that historical claims are just random guesses or leaps of faith? (I cannot prove that Napoleon ever existed, but I believe in my heart that he did. Believing in the existence of Napoleon gives meaning to my life and makes me a better person. I therefore believe in him just like I believe in fairies, floating invisible teacups in outer space and flying spaghetti monsters.)

2. Name five prominent Jewish historians.

One bonus point for each historian that you can match with their choice for the starting point for modern Jewish historian.

For more detailed discussions of the historical method than I wanted from my students see the posts on Philosopher Football, Dragonseed, and evolution as history. As for the historians, the ones that I discussed in detail in class along with their views on modern Jewish history were Gershom Scholem (Sabbatai Sevi), Heinrich Graetz (Moses Mendelssohn), Shimon Dubnow (French Revolution), Isaac Jost (Frederick the Great), and Benzion Dinur (Yehudah Ha-Hasid). Other historians mentioned either in class or in my student’s readings were Josephus, Jacques Basnage (not Jewish but certainly a historian of Jews), Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson, Shmuel Ettinger, Michael Meyer, Salo Baron and Yosef Yerushalmi.

1 comment:

Miss S. said...

So if someone listed "R. Berel Wein" you would give them 1/2 credit?