Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian's Vocation
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
Title Page, Copyright
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One of the richest and most compelling theological concepts in the Christian tradition is that of calling. The Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament bear witness to the ways in which God calls his people into covenant relationship...
Introduction: A Tradition Renewed? The Challenge of a Generation
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The commanding position of the academy in contemporary life is as brute a fact as future historians will ever unearth. At present, millions of people, young and old, are inching their way through curricular...
Part One: Identity
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1. Faith Seeking Historical Understanding
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In what ways might Christian faith enliven, inform, and enrich historical understanding? If one regards the teaching and writing of history as a Christian vocation, what difference does that self-understanding...
2. Not All Autobiography Is Scholarship: Thinking, as a Catholic, about History
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I do not remember when I first heard the expression, “All scholarship is autobiography.” I do remember that it made intuitive sense to me. What I took it to mean was that a scholar’s project, his or her life’s work and its distinguishing...
3. Seeing Things: Knowledge and Love in History
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There is, Nichol as Boyle has argued, an intimacy between language, people, and moral meaning that postmodern theory has very nearly robbed from us.1 Although Boyle writes to defend Christian literary humanism...
Part Two: Theory and Method
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4. Virtue Ethics and Historical Inquiry: The Case of Prudence
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It happened in 1824 in the unlikely place of a preface to a book entitled Histories of the Latin and Germanic Nations from 1494 to 1514. In this preface, the young Leopold von Ranke wrote, “History has been assigned...
5. The “Objectivity Question” and the Historian’s Vocation
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More than most scholars, historians have experienced their disciplinary identity as one in crisis, or at least flux. Aspiring to the modern priesthood of science, they have felt the burden of being viewed as a peculiar form...
6. Enlightenment History, Objectivity, and the Moral Imagination
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Well into Europe’s seventeenth century, the classical tradition of reading history was bent towards forming a masculine civic personality. Political, ecclesiastical, and military narratives, mostly, they offered moral models...
7. On Assimilating the Moral Insights of the Secular Academy
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All of us as Christian historians are also in a sense secular historians. We have all trained in the secular academy, and we take a lot of the secular academy with us. We take methods, emphases of study, key books that shaped us in graduate school...
8. After Monographs: A Critique of Christian Scholarship as Professional Practice
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It has now been more than ten years since George Marsden first proposed the “outrageous idea” that personal Christian faith not only could, but perhaps should, make a difference in the research and writing...
9. The Problems of Preaching through History
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Those who have taught history for a while have experienced both the good and the bad regarding how the public views their discipline. Positively, many people state that they enjoy at least certain topics or fields...
Part Three: Communities
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10. Coming to Terms with Lincoln: Christian Faith and Moral Reflection in the History Classroom
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In December 2003 I proctored the final exam for my Messiah College history course, “HIS 324: Civil War America.” Students were asked to process a considerable amount of historical information related to the war...
11. For Teachers to Live, Professors Must Die: A Sermon on the Mount
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Krachmann’s syndrome appears in no medical dictionary. The truth is, I made it up. But the malady is real enough. I became aware of it on a Friday afternoon in my second year of teaching. After yet another “discussion” class...
12. Public Reasoning by Historical Analogy: Some Christian Reflections
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The conversation between Christian conviction and historical study is today as lively and contested as ever. But I sometimes wonder if this good conversation too narrowly confines itself to questions of historical theory...
13. Don’t Forget the Church: Reflections on the Forgotten Dimension of Our Dual Calling
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“What does it mean to serve God faithfully in the specific circumstances in which He has placed me?”1 Every Christian should ask this question regularly, and to their credit, in recent years a number of Christian...
14. On the Vocation of Historians to the Priesthood of Believers: A Plea to Christians in the Academy
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During the past few decades, Christian history has been reborn as Christian scholars have labored diligently on the relationship of Christian faith and historical understanding.1 As recently as the 1960s, Christians languished...
Afterword: The Christian Historian and the Idea of Progress
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One thing that Christian and non-Christian historians seem to share in the current dispensation is a profound unease with the very concept of progress. Of course, we are not prepared to give it up entirely. That would be nearly...
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Page Count: 376
Publication Year: 2010