The Meaning and Matter of History: A Christian View

The Meaning and Matter of History: A Christian View

The Meaning and Matter of History: A Christian View

The Meaning and Matter of History: A Christian View

Excerpt

This book owes its origin to the choice of subject I made when in 1938 I had to give the presidential address to the Oxford Society of Historical Theology. The subject, 'A Christian View of History', had for some years interested me, and, without consulting the views of others, I had formed a private view of my own. (The address is embodied in one of the chapters of the present work.) Once started on the subject, however, I was tempted to develop it at greater length, and during the years since then I gathered intermittently material for a large work on what would be called a Christian Philosophy of History. Too late I realized that the same kind of subject was attracting or tempting a host of writers. I was constantly coming across reviews of new books which dealt, in one way or another, with the same theme. It seemed waste of time, therefore, to add to the spate of criticisms and appraisals of the numerous distinguished philosophers and historicists who have written on the subject.

I have, felt, nevertheless, that there is room for a book which considers certain preliminary problems connected with history, historicism and Christian theology, and if the title were not too long, I should like to call this book 'Prolegomena to a Christian View of History'. I include 'history' and 'historicism', because there are current discussions of their possibility and nature, which seem to me to be both full of interest and provocative. History has suffered by being taken for a serious and 'scientific' subject long after the physical sciences had established themselves and taken over the field of knowledge. Philosophers, too, with their strict standards as to what constituted knowledge, have been chary of admitting the pretensions of history. (I can . . .

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