Jews invented the very idea of a history that is not a simple succession of events but a progress of mankind toward an accomplished purpose. No idea of history as we know it would have ever been conceived without the rabbinic sages’ disregard for ancient chronicles and annals. As the 20th-century French historian Philippe Ariès once noted:
What Is the Meaning of Jewish History?
A brief history of Jewish history-writing reveals an abundance of partial and competing narratives, all too often missing a key ingredient.