August 8, 2010

Even-Handed Historiography

I keep trying on terms. None of these labels works well.  Presuppositional Apologetics? Confessional Reconstructionl? Faith-based Historiography? Theological Historiography? What would you suggest?  ("A Maximialist Approach"?)

Some conservatives in the past have used the term 'Historical-Grammatical' to describe their approach. (Hmm. I wonder if the word Grammatical was suggested as a way to avoid the word 'Literal'?) By definition, that's not what I'm after, because I'm NOT trying to include theological or philosophical presuppositions a priori. I just want to let CREDENCE inform what may be considered acceptable as historical data, before we begin interpreting scripture from an otherwise historical-critical perspective.

All these labels fall short.  All I know is that whenever an historical text purports something which readers might take as outrageous, seemingly-impossible, or seemingly-incompatible claims, there are two logical options:
One - assume it's false, throw it out and try to explain why it got put in.

Two - assume it's true, keep it in, and try to explain what else it requires.
In normal historiography, sans supernatural phenomena, the more even handed approach abounds. A favorite example: When Tacitus and Suetonius seem to contradict one another about the timing of [the elder] Agrippina's banishment, Anthony Barrett considers the options and tells us, IF both sources are accurate, HOW they could be reconciled most plausibly.

Imagine that - a conditional solution! Remarkable.

That's not Tacitean/Suetonian Apologetics. That's simply good logical analysis.

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