Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
History Has a History
Historiography–the study of historical writing–is a fascinating topic, no matter how esoteric it sounds. There is so much more to history than a simple verbatim report of exactly what happened. The past is experienced by subjects and so has a kind of existential aspect of reality to it. John Warwick Montgomery’s work, The Shape of the Past: A Christian Response to Secular Philosophies of History is an attempt to view historiography through a Christian lens. One of Montgomery’s theses is a point fairly basic to historiography:
History itself has a history. [People] through the ages have written history in different ways as a consequence of the different philosophies of life that they have held. (34, cited below)
History is never fully objective. There can be objective facts of history, but our philosophies of life color how we organize those facts. Montgomery is careful to note that the process of writing history is selective in itself, and the way we organize it is another layer of interpretation.
The Shape of the Past is a fascinating work that I am enjoying immensely. I recommend those interested in the important topic of historiography check it out for a look at how Christianity can make a contribution to the topic.
John Warwick Montgomery, The Shape of the Past (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2008 edition [originally published 1975 by Bethany Fellowship]).
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for discussions about all kinds of topics including science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!