Church History: An Introduction to Research, Reference Works, and Methods

Church History: An Introduction to Research, Reference Works, and Methods

Church History: An Introduction to Research, Reference Works, and Methods

Church History: An Introduction to Research, Reference Works, and Methods

Excerpt

This book arose out of a methods seminar given in the Graduate (Ph.D./Th.M.) program at Fuller Seminary. The seminar provides an introduction to methods for research and writing, both for history and for the more systematic and philosophical disciplines in the theology division, on the assumption that historical method is common to all of these fields and that the basic tools of research used in historical study are necessary for the study of the other disciplines as well. The course was developed primarily to introduce new Ph.D. students to historical method at the very beginning of their doctoral work. It is our hope, in moving from a course outline to a book, that this study will serve as a practical resource for students beginning graduate programs primarily in the fields of church history and history of doctrine, but also for students in the areas of systematic and philosophical theology. We also trust that the bibliographical aspect of the book will be of use to established scholars, whether for the identification of traditional research tools with which they may not previously have been acquainted, or for the identification of newer tools and approaches to the many film and electronic databases now available.

Underlying many of the discussions and much of the bibliographical interest evidenced by the book is the distinction that one of our colleagues pressed on us between professional and amateur historians and the intention to further the case for professionalism in church historical studies. While granting that there is a fine line between the best of amateur historiography and the nominally “professional” essay, in this study we assume a commitment to regularity and precision in method, particularly in the identification and use of resources and tools . . .

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