Conclusion: The Return of Myth to History
For millennia, the Jews made sense of their history in light of their theology. In the modern period, they undertook this struggle within the two domains that enlightenment and emancipation offered them — the public (secular) and the private (sacred). In exchange for the fruits of modernity, they tacitly agreed to consign history to the former and theology to the latter. As a result, their foundational ‘myths’ were recast as ‘universal’ ethical imperatives or largely abandoned, only to continue as templates for the recording and understanding of history in the closed communities of the haredim. Outside of ultra-Orthodox domains and systematic theology, the Jewish experience in the modern period, and the Holocaust in particular, was not chronicled through traditional, metahistorical frameworks. History trumped theology.2 Redemption, it seems, was not part of the modern Jewish plan.
KeywordsModern Period Traumatic Past Jewish Experience Jewish World Memorial Museum
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