The relationship of Jewish history to Jewish identity has two important dimensions: what happened, and what does it mean. The facts of Jewish history are the raw materials, and it was very important to Wine to know what really happened rather than myth, legend, or popular understanding. Just as significant, was the meaning interpreted from those facts: were the Jews the Chosen People, given special attention and punishments by a providential god? Or did they survive because of human stubbornness, creativity, and effort despite an indifferent universe?