Christian faith complicates the task of historical writing. It does so because Christianity is at once deeply historical and profoundly transhistorical. Christian historians taking up the challenge of writing about the past have thus struggled to craft a single, identifiable Christian historiography. Overlapping, and even contradictory, Christian models for thinking and writing about the past abound—from accountings empathetic toward past religious expressions, to history imbued with Christian moral concern, to narratives tracing God’s movement through the ages. The nature and shape of Christian historiography have been, and remain, hotly contested.
Jay Green illuminates five rival versions of Christian historiography. In this volume, Green discusses each of these approaches, identifying both their virtues and challenges. Christian Historiography serves as a basic introduction to the variety of ways contemporary historians have applied their Christian convictions to historical research and reconstruction. Christian teachers and students developing their own sense of the past will benefit from exploring the variety of Christian historiographical approaches described and evaluated in this volume.
Introduction: How Faith Matters to Historical Study 1. Historical Study that Takes Religion Seriously 2. Historical Study through the Lens of Christian Faith Commitments 3. Historical Study as Applied Christian Ethics 4. Historical Study as Christian Apologetic 5. Historical Study as Search for God Conclusion: Historical Study as Christian Vocation
Jay D. Green is Professor of History at Covenant College.
A masterpiece of Christian historiography from one of this generation's most thoughtful historians! Professors at Christian colleges and universities should rush to share Christian Historiography with their history students. Jay Green leaves no stone unturned in his introduction to the way historians of faith understand the past.
~John Fea, Chair of the History Department and Professor of American History, Messiah College, and author of Why Study History?: Reflecting on the Importance of the Past
Christian Historiography is an excellent introduction to the state of the arguments regarding the relationship of Christian faith to historical writing. It should be required reading for Christian historians who want to understand how their faith should relate to their vocation. Green offers lucid summaries and gentle critiques of a wide range of approaches.
~George Marsden, author of The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship
The faithful Christian life requires obedience to one’s calling. But what is the specific nature of that calling, for those who have been called to write, think, and teach about the past? As Jay Green stresses in this thought-provoking book, there is more than one way to answer that question; but there are criteria that may help us discover which of those ways are the best and most fruitful. I predict that Green’s fivefold taxonomy of Christian historiographical models will form an essential part of our discussions of these matters for years to come.
~Wilfred McClay, G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty, and Director, Center for the History of Liberty, University of Oklahoma
In this learned and tremendously useful book, Jay Green describes five recent and remarkably varied approaches to the study of the past by Christian, primarily Protestant evangelical, scholars. In the end, his measured analysis offers an eloquent and passionate defense of the importance of historical reflection. This is the indispensable foundation for a new generation’s questions about faith and history.
~Beth Schweiger, Department of History, University of Arkansas
An important contribution to evangelical reflection on writing history