College Absurdity
#11
(01-27-2012, 01:18 AM)Crusader_Philly Wrote:
(01-26-2012, 11:53 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: I agree that we can discover truth in history, but I don't think it is necessarily wrong to say that the meaning of the past changes from person to person. History always takes on the form of a narrative after all. As obnoxious as relativism is, we ought also to avoid the arrogance of reading the past as merely an anticipation of the present that can be judged by our standards without difficulty.

The meaning of the past can vary from person to person, but history and truth do not change. Also, the current trend is for historians to write monographs and to avoid narratives. Everything is an argument, and in my entire academic career, I have only written historical monographs. The only narratives are when I wrote articles or explain to people.

CP,

Have you read Chesterton's The Everlasting Man? It is a great historical drama with good insight on how historians should operate. I especially like his point that we should reject fatalism notions of progress (liberalism) or decline (pessimism) and see history as man's free will (and God's grace) writing a story without a fixed end.

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#12
(01-27-2012, 01:29 AM)Crusader_Philly Wrote: Indeed.

Most history before the 1950s, really old school history, was narrative. Ever since then, the trend has been to monograph, with some even calling for the abandonment of narrative history. However, some authors have returned to the monograph. For example, 1776, by D. McCullogh, is narrative. A prominent monograph historian is Gordon Wood.

Never heard of this distinction.  Could you explain please?

I go to a small private Catholic lib arts college.  Don't have most of the problems you describe.  Thank God.  
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#13
(01-27-2012, 11:22 AM)Richard C Wrote:
(01-27-2012, 01:18 AM)Crusader_Philly Wrote:
(01-26-2012, 11:53 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: I agree that we can discover truth in history, but I don't think it is necessarily wrong to say that the meaning of the past changes from person to person. History always takes on the form of a narrative after all. As obnoxious as relativism is, we ought also to avoid the arrogance of reading the past as merely an anticipation of the present that can be judged by our standards without difficulty.

The meaning of the past can vary from person to person, but history and truth do not change. Also, the current trend is for historians to write monographs and to avoid narratives. Everything is an argument, and in my entire academic career, I have only written historical monographs. The only narratives are when I wrote articles or explain to people.

CP,

Have you read Chesterton's The Everlasting Man? It is a great historical drama with good insight on how historians should operate. I especially like his point that we should reject fatalism notions of progress (liberalism) or decline (pessimism) and see history as man's free will (and God's grace) writing a story without a fixed end.

Yes indeed. It is a real eye opener. I especially enjoy his thoughts on Pre-History. It has made for interesting trips to Museums of Natural History with the children. But that doesn't stop "experts" from telling us what went on before any records were kept. Either way, it is the kind of book that can be very instructive on how one ought to think.

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#14
Too tired to respond to questions or to add further comments, but tmo morning sounds good. Night everyone.
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