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Moshe Arens: How many narratives?

posted Nov 6, 2012, 10:01 AM by Professor Katz   [ updated Nov 12, 2013, 12:07 AM ]
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/how-many-narratives-1.322588

...and in Hebrew:

משה ארנס | אין נרטיב, יש אמת היסטורית
http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1196640.html

Moshe Arens, a trained engineer, writes thusly:

'The "narrative " mode of history is something of recent vintage, a fad not likely to persist. It is the facts that we want our children to be taught in history lessons. There may be different interpretations of certain events that may need to be elaborated, even when the events themselves have been established beyond doubt. It is only when the actual course of events has been difficult or impossible to ascertain that there is room for presenting different versions.'

...and in the original Hebrew:

החשיבה "הנרטיבית" על ההיסטוריה היא סוג של טרנד עכשווי, שכנראה לא ישרוד זמן רב. העובדות - זה מה שאנו רוצים שילדינו ילמדו בשיעורי ההיסטוריה. לאירועים מסוימים ייתכנו פרשנויות שונות ואפשר להרחיב את הדיון עליהם גם אחרי שהעובדות בוססו ללא צל של ספק. רק כשמהלך האירועים בלתי ניתן לביסוס אפשר להקדיש יותר מקום להצגת גרסאות שונות 


Well, actually no.  As it happens, there are far fewer absolute facts than one might think.  Some facts there are: someone murdered Arlozoroff, for example.  But the issue is far more complicated than that.  And the discussion is not recent, not a fad.  For a preliminary bibliography, Mr Arens could start with two articles by past presidents of the American Historical Association, no less, both written in the early 1930s.  He could read
an article I wrote about 'fuzzy thinking'.  Or come to a first year, first semester history targil.

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