Historical Ignorance, Historical Bigotry and Historical Truth| National Catholic Register

It is always prudent to know what we are talking about before we begin to say anything. It is, therefore, important to know what history is before we talk about it, or before we consider visiting or revisiting it. The problem is that history has more than one generally accepted definition, and, confusingly, those definitions could be said to contradict each other. History can be defined as the “aggregate of past events” but also as a “continuous methodical record of past events.” These definitions are so different that they constitute two entirely different things. The first is all that has happened in the past, the second is all that has been recorded in or about the past. (Strictly speaking, this definition of history only considers those things recorded in the past that have survived into the present. Things recorded in the past that have been lost to posterity are not part of “history” according to this definition.) The first is entirely independent of man’s record of it. It is an objective reality; it simply is. The second, by contrast, is entirelydependent upon man’s record of it. 

Historical Ignorance, Historical Bigotry and Historical Truth| National Catholic Register

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