definition of history
- Bob Schacht wrote:
"First, Miller's definition of history bothers me because I feel nervous
about cutting ourselves loose from "what happened in the past" as the
ultimate standard of history. What I hear Miller clearly saying is that
things that happened that we cannot "know" about are not a part of
This seems a bit myopic to me. It seems to rule out, ex cathedra, some of
the things about Jesus that his contemporaries felt were most important.
are close here to what I call the tyranny of the Normal."
Bob, there's no philosophical agenda here, just a definition that insists
that history is a form of human knowledge. So if something happened that
no one knows about anymore, then it cannot be part of our historical
knowledge. If in the future we discover evidence of that event, then it
will be part of our history. The Dead Sea Scrolls existed since whenever
they were written, but were not part of history until they were
discovered in this century. Things that Jesus did that nobody
remembered, and for which we have no evidence, are not part of our
intellectual construct called the "historical Jesus."
I will be traveling for a few weeks and so drop out of this list for a
while. Thanks to all for the stimulating conversation.
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