History is the record of past events, the record of human experience. It is concerned with the whole of the past of mankind, each generation receives, transforms, extends, and hands on to the next. Gibbons - The theologian may indulge the pleasing task of describing religion as she descended from Heaven, arrayed in her native purity. A more melancholy duty is imposed on the historian. He must discover inevitable mixture of error and corruption which she contracted in a long residence upon earth, among a weak and degenerate race of beings.

Anselm saw history as a long process of divine education, God was slowly leading man on towards complete truth. This progressive revelation is a mountain top of human knowledge from when the doings of our own generation may be scanned and fitted into proper dimensions. History enables a person to see himself as part of that living process of human growth which has emerged out of the past and will inexorably project itself out beyond our lifetime. We are a product of the past but not the completed product. Historical-mindedness is a way of thinking, a form of reasoning when dealing with historical materials and present-day problems.

The historian cannot be satisfied until he finds genuine evidence upon which to base his conclusions. If he carefully examines the record in a spirit of humility and prepared to recognize tenacious reality rather than what he wishes to find, he is then prepared to formulate a worthwhile interpretation of the events. Medieval scholars had divided history into an age of darkness and error and an age of light and truth. Between the two ages stood the Cross of Jesus. The Renaissance humanist adored the classics because they had learned to read them in historical perspective.

History is made in conflict, and the history of ideas is a conflict of minds, the personal intervention of God breaks ever into the field of human history, taking the form of transcendental energy, redemptive in purpose, yet fulfilling itself on the plane of natural circumstance. This consciousness of a destiny in time and history for God's prophetic purpose had deepened with each successive crisis. Without such ultimate destiny historical progress would have been meaningless. But with each such ultimate destiny historical progress is full of spiritual reality, and guarantees a worthy meaning for human existence. God sees history whole. Great history is written precisely when the historian's vision of the past is illuminated by insights into the problems of the present. The historian who is most conscious of his own situation is also more capable of transcending it. Marx thought that world history would have a very mystical character if there were no room in it for chance.

Tillich wrote that there is no historian who is not - at least in secret - a philosopher. He goes on to say that the ideal of knowledge in historical realism is the union of scientific objectivity with a passionate understanding and transformation of the historical situation. The God of time is the God of history. History has a direction, something new is to be created in it and through it, the coming of the kingdom of God and beyond history. Time is fulfilled in history, and history is fulfilled in the universal kingdom of God, the Kingdom of justice and peace. We can say that the here and now belongs to the content of hope, because there is a bond between history and eternal life deeper than we can imagine. When history has moved forward, texts from the past acquire a new fulfillment.

The great Teilhard de Chardot felt that the history of the world is really no different from the history of the increasing complexity of matter. He wrote that we must understand what sacred history really is: that of personal dealings between God and man, that is God's love for man, which gives human history its meaning. The true meaning of evolution and of history, God's creative love, is to arrive finally at a human love capable of being united in Christ to the divine nature. History thus appears as the result of both the effort upward toward self-realization and the complaisant drifting which topples over into disorder.

History is the time-line of human progress. But philosophy has a history. It even is history, the perpetual questioning by man of his condition. The man who believes in the meaning of history sees the grandeur of his responsibilities almost infinitely exalted before his very eyes. Our part in it, however small it is, is nevertheless very real. Such a man is quickened with the sense of the world and of the meaning of his spiritual destiny. The spirit must be seen as the guiding power, in the heart of the historical process, and history itself must be seen to be quickened by a Supreme Presence. Hegel took God as the subject of history, had seen God in man, in a state of self-alienation and in the process of history. God's return to Himself. Only in love is man historical. This is what is called the "dialectic of history", a historical force or law of history operating within human history which ultimately determines the course of events, a dialectical understanding of historical process itself, acquired through stressing its political dimension.

The process of liberation as Jesus takes it today implies the need for the church to make a choice. The theology of liberation is a reflection which makes a start with the historical praxis of people. It seeks to rethink the faith from the perspective of that historical praxis (action), and it is based on the experience of the faith derived from the liberating commitment. Human aspirations constitute the dynamics of history and makes it possible to understand the aspirations of peoples and social classes, to conceive history as a process and to speak of man's relation to God as one and the same reality.

It is in history, more than nature, that we are going to be able to call attention to the living God. Christians must insist that history is the locale of God's revelation, and that this revelation is meant to show us here and now that God is revealing Himself in history. The salvation of social man in history, is the real pathway whereby God will ultimately deify man. There is the more profitable question of the passing of moral judgment not on individuals, but on events, institutions, or policies of the past. Max Weber refers to "the masterless slavery in which capitalism enmeshes the work or the debtor," and rightly argues that the historian should pass moral judgment on the institutions, but not on the individuals who created it.

Historical facts, presuppose some measure of interpretation; and historical interpretations always involve moral judgments. But it is in periods of radical change that the issue appears in it's most radical form. History is movement and movement implies comparison. The serious historian is the one who recognizes the historically conditioned character of all values, not the one who claims for his own values an objectivity beyond history. Acton's vision of the march of history as an unending progress towards liberty suggests that history as the record of those events as progress toward the understanding of liberty. For Acton, as for Hegel, liberty and reason were never far apart. Development in history meant development towards the concept of freedom.

Gibbon - History is little more than a register of crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind. Voltaire - History is only a pack of tricks we play on the dead.

History, as it lies at the root of all science, is also the first distinct product of man's spiritual nature; his earliest expression of what can be called thought. All History is an inarticulate bible, His story. Historical study leads toward, though it does not guarantee, the attainment of the greatest value that the philosophers have held up for us - wisdom. As a subject of unlimited inquiry, history can be a powerful stimulant to the curiosity and the thirst for truth. Hence it happens that the whole interest of history lies in the fortunes of the poor. Knowledge, virtue, power, are the victories of man over his necessities, his march to the dominion of the world. Every man ought to have this opportunity to conquer the world for himself.

History is fundamentally the history of the progress of the human mind. Human history must be regarded as the history of a single people. All history is the history of the class struggle. The history of the mind, the history of humanity, is the history of these successive alienations, at the end of which the mind will find itself once again in possession of the whole of its works and his historical past and be aware of possessing this whole. We can have positive knowledge only of the past, but the only useful knowledge relates to the future. The only real use of facts is as raw material which the mind can make estimates of the future. In the present state of historical knowledge, any solution of the enigma of industrial society must be largely conjectural. This means that it must be subject to revision, perhaps total revision, as our knowledge is extended by further historical research. In history, absolute judgments are impossible. History can only show how things have been, and even where we can throw light upon the past, and understand it and criticize it, we must not presume to think that by any process of abstraction absolute judgments as to the value to be assigned to past events can be obtained from the results of a purely historical survey. Such judgments are the creation only of feeling and of will; they are a subjective act. A ridiculous and absurd claim, made by many people, to regard history as a part of philosophy, nay, as philosophy itself; they imagine that history can take its place.
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