Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tony Lane on Understanding History

"We need to read about the past in order to understand the present. People without a grasp of history are like a person without a memory. Many of the current beliefs in our society are properly grasped only when we see how they have emerged. A knowledge of history will help us to understand better both ourselves and those with whom we might disagree."

—Tony Lane, A Concise History of Christian Thought (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), 1.


MaryLou said...

I agree with Lane's statement. I believe history should be a mandatory subject right through high school.

Of course, postmodernism has affected how we "do" history. The idea that history isn't "knowable" and that it's all too biased to be reliable undermines the Bible as history.

I also get frustrated by people who look at Biblical times through 21st-century eyes, never taking into consideration that different people in different eras saw life in a different way. They judge everything by today's beliefs and standards. If they studied history, perhaps they would be more likely to look at the various cultures through the lenses of those times and places. This would help them to better understand Scripture.

It's true that we cannot know everything that happened in the past 100 per cent, but we can make intelligent, reasonable and valid conclusions based on the material we have.

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