Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Modern Historical Myth

Although The Enlightenment has long been turned into a Dis-Enlightenment in the Post-Modern world, there is still a Positivistic mentality in modern historical analysis which even to this day is making scholastic progress in the Old and New Testament stagnant and impotent. This mentality believes in objective reporting and bare facts. When it sees something like the Bible, which was clearly written by people with theological and even political motivations, it raises its big red flags and says Stop! This is not history! We even see this in Christianity where a believer will confidently dismiss a work or idea critical of their own perspective because it is “biased”.

This is a false dichotomy. There is no such thing as bare facts. There is no one unbiased. There is no such thing as objective perspective. We, being subjects, can only see subjectively. Everything we see and think and hear is filtered through the lens of our world-view, our knowledge, our reason, our philosophy, our motivation, our emotion, our experiences, our agendas, our frailties, our ignorance, etc. The modern idea of history as an unbiased, motivation-free, objective record of the facts is non-existent. Those are the very questions of history! History is about perspective, story, and motivation—whether political, religious, or otherwise. History does not just ask what happened where on what date. It asks why something happened where it happened on that date. It asks what the people believed about themselves and their world which influenced those things which happened or didn't happen and what factors, motivations, and beliefs may have lead to different circumstances.

It is just as historical a question to ask what Socrates believed his death would mean as it is to ask what Yeshua believed his death to mean. Only a fool thinks the records about either Socrates or Yeshua were not written from a certain point-of-view, a certain motivation, or a certain bias and agenda. To deny that the Bible is history because it was written by people who were trying to convince you of certain perspectives about what happened and why is to render all history untouchable.


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