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The sub-branch of history that is known by the ambiguous (and frightening to undergraduates, cats, and many mainstream academics) name “historiography” seems to be undergoing a Renaissance at the moment.
Shlomo Sand is no stranger to controversy.
The first principle of understanding history, I was taught, is to sympathize with the historical actors, to immerse oneself in their context and perspective.(1) Otherwise, history becomes a fabricated reconstruction – more about the writer's ideology than the events of the past.
The work under review here owes its genesis to the Open University course of the same title, for which it is the core text. As such, it consists of ten interlinked essays, specially commissioned, on the broad theme of the dynamics of difference within and between world religious traditions.