historian

No theologian could ever be a historian. History is essentially disinterested. The historian has only one concern: art and truth, which are inseparable... whereas the theologian has something else at stake - his dogma.

Progress in history is achieved through the interdependence and interaction of facts and values. The objective historian is the historian who penetrates most deeply into this reciprocal process.

Events in the past may roughly be divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter. This is what makes the trade of historian so attractive.

A historian without any theological bias whatever… cannot portray the progress of humanity honestly without giving a foremost place to a penniless teacher from Nazareth.

The world’s history is a divine poem of which the history of every nation is a canto and every man a word. Its strains have been pealing along down the centuries, and though there have been mingled the discords of warring cannon and dying men, yet to the Christian philosopher and historian - the humble listener - there has been a divine melody running through the song which speaks of hope and halcyon days to come.

Study the historian before you begin to study the facts.

A historian without any theological bias whatever… cannot portray the progress of humanity honestly without giving a foremost place to a penniless teacher from Nazareth.

No theologian could ever be a historian. History is essentially disinterested. The historian has only one concern: art and truth, which are inseparable... whereas the theologian has something else at stake - his dogma.

Any historian of the literature of the modern age will take virtually for granted the adversary intention, the actually subversive intention, that characterizes modern writing -- he will perceive its clear purpose of detaching the reader from the habits of thought and feeling that the larger culture imposes, of giving him a ground and a vantage point from which to judge and condemn, and perhaps revise, the culture that produces him.

While the scientist, on the one hand, is concerned with giving a faithful description of facts, on the other, he has the equally important task of construing them in relation to some explanatory conjecture. Similarly the historian has a double duty: both of reporting the past as nearly as possible as it passed or was lived through by men at the time (without doctoring up events to fit later developments or some more "enlightened reading" of them); and second, of interpreting their import in the light of a present hypothesis.

My field is the history of thought. Man is a thinking being. The way he thinks is related to society, politics, economics, and history and is also related to very general and universal categories and formal structures. But thought is something other than societal relations. The way people really think is not adequately analyzed by the universal categories of logic. Between social history and formal analyses of thought there is a path, a lane - maybe very narrow - which is the path of the historian of thought.

It is not without fear and trembling that a historian of religion approaches the problem of myth. This is not only because of that preliminary embarrassing question: what is intended by myth? It is also because the answers given depend for the most part on the documents selected.

The sciences of observation and experiment are alike in this, that their aim is to detect the constant or recurring features in all events of a certain kind. A meteorologist studies one cyclone in order to compare it with others ; and by studying a number of them he hopes to find out what features in them are constant, that is, to find out what cyclones as such are like. But the historian has no such aim. If you find him on a certain occasion studying the Hundred Years War or the Revolution of 1688, you cannot infer that he is in the preliminary stages of an inquiry whose ultimate aim is to reach conclusions about wars or revolutions as such. If he is in the preliminary stages of any inquiry, it is more likely to be a general study of the Middle Ages or the seventeenth century. This is because the sciences of observation and experiment are organized in one way and history is organized in another. In the organization of meteorology, the ulterior value of what has been observed about one cyclone is conditioned by its relation to what has been observed about other cyclones. In the organization of history, the ulterior value of what is known about the Hundred Years War is conditioned, not by its relation to what is known about other wars, but by its relation to what is known about other things that people did in the Middle Ages.

To the scientist, nature is always and merely a 'phenomenon,' not in the sense of being defective in reality, but in the sense of being a spectacle presented to his intelligent observation; whereas the events of history are never mere phenomena, never mere spectacles for contemplation, but things which the historian looks, not at, but through, to discern the thought within them.

The progress of science depends less than is usually believed on the efforts and performance of the individual genius ... many important discoveries have been made by men of ordinary talents, simply because chance had made them, at the proper time and in the proper place and circumstances, recipients of a body of doctrines, facts and techniques that rendered almost inevitable the recognition of an important phenomenon. It is surprising that some historian has not taken malicious pleasure in writing an anthology of 'one discovery' scientists. Many exciting facts have been discovered as a result of loose thinking and unimaginative experimentation, and described in wrappings of empty words. One great discovery does not betoken a great scientist; science now and then selects insignificant standard bearers to display its banners.

1. Identify the adaptive challenge. Diagnose the situation in light of the values at stake, and unbundled the issues that come with it. 2. Keep the distress within a tolerable range for doing adaptive work. To use the pressure cooker analogy, keep the heat up without blowing up the vessel. 3. Focus attention on ripening issues and not on stress-reducing distractions. Identify which issues can currently engage attention; and while directing attention to them, counteract work avoidance mechanisms like denial, scapegoating, externalizing the enemy, pretending the problem is technical, or attacking individuals rather than issues. 4. Giving the work back to people, but at a rate they can stand. Place and develop responsibility by putting the pressure on the people with the problem. 5. Protect voices of leadership without authority. Give cover to those who raise hard questions and generate distress – people who point to the internal contradictions of the society. These individuals often will have latitude to provoke rethinking that authorities do not have.

Between 1941 and 1945 the United States heavily for the long-term results of Roosevelt's meddling, for which, ironically, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, ... The Oxford History of the American People.

The first virtue of a young man today - that is, for the next fifty years perhaps, as long as we live in fear, and religion has regained its powers - is to be incapable of enthusiasm and not to have much in the way of brains.

History is a mighty drama, enacted upon, the theatre of time, with suns for lamps and eternity for a background.