Re: Why study history?

Mounce Robert D. (
24 Feb 1995 15:51:28 GMT

>>Todd Michel McComb ( wrote:
>Any studies on the usage of history
>across cultures?

An hypothesis to test might be Voegelin's statement that only the Hebrews
and Greeks wrote the kind of history we refer to. Voegelin, however, also
thinks we misinterpret the intent of early historiographers even while we
recognize their "fair and accurate" descriptions which lead us to believe
they are talking about real people. Are there any similarly styled
histories in the Indian, Asian, African, American, etc. societies near to
the time of the Greek and Hebrew writings? What is the nature of history?

"Fair and accurate" is the ambiguous description an historian or a
journalist is likely to give their work when they believe the work they
are doing represents some kind of objectivity. Voegelin believes the
Hebrews and Greeks were not pursuing objectivity, but instead were
recording history because of their reflective realization about the nature
of existence, and the realization of that importance in mankind's
development. For the Hebrews, this nature was described as revealed in
their concept of God, and for the Greeks it was described as discovered in
their concept of reason. The Hebrews of the OT exhibit human fallibility
as they lie, cheat and steal their way through life. The Greeks
consciously use myths as symbolic representations of the things they
recognize cannot be understood. Was the intent of their recording
different from all other socieites as is suggested by the style they
chose? What is our intent for our record?

Doug Mounce