Autographs, MSS and REAL Historiography Re: Methods in bib lical scholarship

Ken Litwak kdlitwak at
Wed Dec 29 03:51:47 EST 1999

  Asking whether Herodotus had clear purposes or not is not really the
issue, as I see it.  The issue is twofold:
1.  What did Hellenistic historiographers say they were trying to
2.  Has anyone ever written ideologically free history or written
history without an ideological agenda?

For the first, history should be accurate, based on eye witness accounts
primarily, and only secondarily, well-written and entertaining, or as
Lucian puts it, a "well-seasoned soup" or some such thing (the word is a
hapax and difficult to translate).

    As for 2., the answer is no.  No one, not me, not Lemche, not
Thucydides, no one ever wrote an ideology-free, aim-free historical
work.  It cannot be done.  It's of little moment to say that an ancient
writer had purposes.  All history writers have purposes.  When I was in
high school I had to read an American history text called "land of the
Free", a book that a Democrat would love and Republican would hate, as
it was clearly written from a specific political perspective and with a
specific political agenda in its selection and presentation of events,
and I don't think for one solitary moment my teacher was unaware of
this.  This is simply illustrative of how all historiography is done. 
It's methodologically improper to treat ancient historigraphy as
different in kind than modern.

Ken Litwak

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