A primer for dealing with conceptual and methodological problems in history and presents classic historical problems as a way to examine what history is, what it means, and how it can be told and understood.
Countering current historical skepticism, a historian uses case studies to guide readers to a new confidence in and understanding of historical inquiry.
How do we know the stories told by historians are true? To what extent can we rely on their interpretations of the past?
Histories and Fallacies is a primer on the conceptual and methodological problems in the discipline of history. Historian Carl Trueman presents a series of classic historical problems as a way to examine what history is, what it means, and how it can be told and understood. Each chapter in Histories and Fallacies gives an account of a particular problem, examines classic examples of that problem, and then suggests a solution or approach that will bear fruit for the writer or reader of history.
Readers who follow Trueman’s deft writing will not just be learning theory but will already be practicing fruitful approaches to history. Histories and Fallacies guides both readers and writers of history away from dead ends and methodological mistakes, and into a fresh confidence in the productive nature of the historical task.
CARL R. TRUEMAN is professor of historical theology and church history, and vice president for academic affairs at Westminster Theological Seminary. A council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and a former editor of Themelios, Trueman has written six books and contributed to dozens of anthologies and publications.
“This is a very good book, full of historiographical wisdom. I recommend it strongly as a sure and encouraging guide to budding historians befuddled by the so-called ‘history wars,’ and to anyone who is interested in the challenges attending those who represent the history of Christian thought.”
—Douglas A. Sweeney, Associate Professor of Church History, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“Carl Trueman’s cogent and engaging approach to historiography provides significant examples of problems faced by historians and the kinds of fallacies frequently encountered in historical argumentation. Trueman steers a clear path between problematic and overdrawn conclusions on the one hand and claims of utter objectivity on the other. His illustrations, covering several centuries of Western history, are telling. He offers a combination of careful historical analysis coupled with an understanding of the logical and argumentative pitfalls to which historians are liable that is a service to the field and should provide a useful guide to beginning researchers. A must for courses on research methodology.”
—Richard A. Muller, P. J. Zondervan Professor of Historical Theology, Calvin Theological Seminary
“Because the past shapes the present, a just understanding of the past is important for any individual, society, or church. Here is wise and practical advice for those wanting to write history for others about how to do it well. Follow this guidance and avoid the pitfalls!”
—David Bebbington, Professor of History, University of Stirling
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