I am interested in Jesus as a historical figure. Yet how does one approach the task of history, what is history? An answer at this level will have implicatiopns as to how my own historical Jesus reserach will proceed, Here are three definitions/quotes on the meaning/task of history.
‘You have reckoned that history ought to judge the past and to instruct the contemporary world as to the future. The present attempt does not yield to that high office. It will merely tell how it really was.’ Von Ranke
‘History, then, is real knowledge, of a particular sort. It is arrived at, like all, knowledge, by the spiral of epistemology, in which the story-telling human community launches enquiries, forms provisional judgements about which stories are likely to be successful in answering those enquiries, and then tests these judgements by further interaction with data.’ N.T Wright , NT&POG 109
‘History is a shifting, problematic discourse, ostensibly about an aspect of the world, the past, that is produced by a group of present -minded workers (overwhelmingly in our culture salaried historians) who go about their work in mutually recognisable ways that are epistemologically, methodologically, ideologically and practically positioned and whose products, once in circulation, are subject to a series of uses and abuses that are logically infinite but which in actuality generally correspond to a range of power bases that exist at any given moment and which structure and distribute the meanings of histories along a dominant marginal spectrum.’ Keith Jenkins, Re-Thinking History 26
Wright= Critical Realist
Basically history for Ranke is about objectivity, for Wright it is interpreted knowledge, wheras for Keith Jenkins history is to do with power. Anybody else have quotes/comments about historiography?