By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Friday, October 08, 2004

A Few Comments on History

History is one of my favorite subjects for study. It brings to life people and events of the past. We can learn, too, by their examples, both good and bad. We can see that Action A brings Consequence B. We can see that Choice C eliminates the possiblity of Choice D and think about which is better.

Reading history is an excellent exercise for the mind. Not only do we have a panorama of activity spread before us, but we must sort out truth from error. Every person who writes history must choose which people and events to highlight and which to downplay or even ignore. They have their personal biases, at least on a subconcious level, and those enter in to their selection of what to write about and how to present it. As readers, we have our own biases as well. So, whether the writer merely has personal biases, perhaps subconcious, or whether he has an agenda, we have a job to do as we study.

One of the most important things we can do is read history from a variety of sources. We can read finely focused monographs and we can read volumes describing entire eras. We can read different authors describing the same events. We can seek primary sources to go with the secondary sources we are studying. Most of all, we can think through what we are learning and where it is taking us. We can ask questions of the author in our minds and look for his answers in his writing. We can evaluate events and their consequences. Learning history can give us a great deal of insight into the human condition.



Blogger Titus Todd said...

I also love history but don't have much time to pursue much additional study. History is what got me into Family History, my favorite personal "hobby". In High School while in my history classes I developed a desire to find out where my ancestors were during the point in history we were studying. No only would it personalize history for me but it would also give me an idea what my ancestors went through of which had an effect on who they were.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Titus, glad you mentioned that. It adds so much to both history and understanding of family to learn about what was going on when and where our ancestors lived.

6:09 AM  

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