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Judaic Studies pres.

What Ifs of Jewish History

Gavriel Rosenfeld, Fairfield University, in conversation with Devi Mays and Jeff Veidlinger, University of Michigan

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What if the Jews of Spain had not been expelled in 1492? What if Adolf Hitler had been assassinated in 1939? What if a Jewish state had been established in Uganda instead of Palestine? In his talk, Gavriel D. Rosenfeld discusses how these and other counterfactual questions would have affected the course of Jewish history. Drawing on his edited volume, "What Ifs of Jewish History" (2016), he discusses why Jewish historians were historically slow to adopt the increasingly popular methodology of counterfactual reasoning in their work, and how they have finally begun to do so in recent years. He concludes with some reflections on the merits of speculating about how the course of Jewish history might have been different.

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