Myth Of History

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History suffers from ideological, epistemological and methodological weaknesses and the fact that historians face these limitations and problems in order to gain complete knowledge of the absolute and undeniable truth do indeed support Voltaire’s allegations. So what is history? The most agreed upon definition is that it is merely a study of past events. However it should be noted that the past and history are two very diverse terminologies. The past has occurred. It is gone, there is no way of bringing it back. Cs Lewis defines ‘the past’ in terms of a metopher. “The past . . . in its reality, was a roaring cataract of billions upon billions of such moments: any one of them too complex to grasp in its entirety, and the aggregate beyond all…show more content…
There are more than twenty five different methods from which one can choose from and that means twenty five different possibilities. How does one know the correct criteria for choosing and on what grounds does one choose? Talk of method as the road to truth is misleading. Also after historians are done with their research and have to write it down there are a couple of other factors that can influence their work like distractions, personal values and perspectives, etc. history is also ideologically constructed. This means that it is constantly being reworked and reproduced by those affected by power relationships. In the 1800s there was a German historian by the name of Leopold von Ranke who founded the field of empirical, research based history as we know it today. He said there were three kinds of history -- the actual event, the details of which are lost forever; the reconstruction of the event, which can be done only through painstaking research and through verified, accountable and measured sources; and finally the "history" that is in the books, which is put there by the people in power to promote a certain viewpoint or message and is almost always wrong. Von Ranke felt that people in authority use history as a tool, they tried to find stories of morality or ideology in the events and recorded them to accomplish a particular philosophy or achieve a desired end (nationalism, for example, or expiation for certain national sins). He believed that history should be neutral, record the facts and nothing more and that interpretation should be left to the individual. The result which he encountered was that there was rancor and hostility as factions on all sides criticized him, each side emphasizing that "their" version of history was the only
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