Historiography

Historiography is concerned with the principles, theories, or methodology of scholarly historical research and presentation. Rather than merely the study of a particular history itself, historiography involves the study of how historical events have been recorded, interpreted and presented.

Defining historiography

Furay and Salevouris define "historiography" as "the study of the way history has been and is written--the history of historical writing. . . When you study 'historiography' you do not study the events of the past directly, but the changing interpretations of those events in the works of individual historians." (Methods, p. 223)

Gawronski suggests that "historiography is the study of the various approaches to historical method, the actual writing of history, and, primarily, the various interpretations of historical events. Historiography is the study of the techniques employed by the individual historian." (History, pp. 59-60)

Although questions of method have concerned historians since Thucydides, many trace the modern study of historiography to E. H. Carr's 1961 work What is History?. Carr challenged the traditional belief that the study of the methods of historical research and writing were unimportant. His work remains in print to this day, and is common to many postgraduate programs of study in both the United States and in Great Britain.

The study of historiography demands a critical approach that goes beyond the mere examination of historical fact. Historiographical studies consider the source, often by researching the author, his or her position in society, and the type of history being written at the time.

For additional secular discussion see the Wikipdia article Historiography.

Christian historiography

Christian historiography as well as a Christian view of history will necessarily come in conflict with secular or humanist historiography. This conflict comes from Christian presuppositions such as: there is a God, God is in control of history, and history has a moral purpose.

Resources

  • Conal Furay and Michael J. Salevouris, The Methods and Skills of History: A Practical Guide, 1988. ISBN 0882959824
  • Donald V. Gawronski, History: Meaning and Method, Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman and Co., 1975. ISBN 0673079686
  • E. H. Carr, What is History? 1961. ISBN 039470391X
  • Michael Bentley, Modern Historiography: An Introduction, 1999. ISBN 0415202671
  • Earle E. Cairns, God and Man in Time : a Christian approach to historiography, Baker Book House, 1979. ISBN 0801024269

See also