It is difficult to formulate a new Jewish history while looking through the dense prism of Zionism--the light that traverses it keeps breaking into sharply ethnocentric colors.... [T]he Jews have always comprised significant religious communities that appeared and settled in various parts of the world, rather than an ethnos that shared a single origin and wandered in a permanent exile...How can we stop trudging along roads paved mainly with materials forged in national fantasies?
Imagining the nation was an important stage in the development of historiography, as indeed in the evolution of modernity. It engaged many historians from the nineteenth century onward. But toward the end of the twentieth century the dreams of national identity began to disintegrate. More and more scholars began to dissect and examine the great national stories, especially myths of common origin, that had hitherto clouded the writing of history. It goes without saying that the secularization of history took place under the hammer blows of cultural globalization, which continually takes unexpected forms throughout the Western world.
Yesterday's nightmares of identity are not tomorrow's identity dreams. Just as every personality is composed of fluid and diverse identities, so is history, among other things, an identity in motion.
--Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People, Introduction