Did Solomon build the First Temple? Did the First Temple actually exist? What was the reconstruction at the Semitic Museum based on?
- Discuss the methodology of deciphering the distant past as well as the substance.
- Explain how different kinds of sources are used. Give examples of conflicts between different kinds of sources. Explain how these conflicts might be resolved.
- Use the readings to discuss the historical problems in answering these questions.
- State your personal opinion on these questions, based on the readings and classes.
Try to answer two questions in your paper:
- First, do we know more about Jewish history today than we know about events long ago? Is there a monotonic relationship between knowledge and time? If not, why not? What does this tell us about Jewish history?
- Second, under these circumstances, do you think will there still be Jews in future generations? We have discussed persecution against Jews for a millennium, culminating in the Holocaust. Will there still be people calling themselves Jews?
Feel free to draw on your own experience as well as the material of this course, or place your own experience in the context of this course. Do not feel you have to supply definitive answers to these difficult questions. Well articulated, informed thoughts are enough.