March 16, 2011

Bauckham explains "Microhistory"

An excerpt from his recent lecture in Waco, TX, The Gospels as Microhistory and Perspectival History, hereby transcribed by moi:
Microhistory is a reduction of scale, narrowing the historian’s scale to a specific small social group. But this reduction of scale is not meant simply to make it possible to observe the same things at a micro level that one can perceive at the macro level. The micro studies are not to be mere case histories illustrating what macro history already claims to know. The rationale for the micro history is that at the micro level one will see different things.

Another of the Italian microhistorians Giovanni Levi, says, “The unified principle of all micro-historical research is the belief that microscopic observation will reveal factors previously unobserved. Phenomena previously considered to be sufficiently described and understood assume completely new meanings by altering the scale of observation.”

So the microhistorical studies are not examples for macrohistory, but experiments in search of what can only be seen at the micro level – in particular, what from the macro historical perspective is anomalous and discontinuous.
This from around the 11 or 12 minute mark, perhaps.  I'm not sure, because Baylor's video has been misbehaving a bit. Tonight, I had to close all other windows - AND be patient - to get the video to buffer and play.  And Baylor's videographer seemed like such a capable guy.  Meh.

As for how this applies to the Gospels as examples of Microhistory, for now, I'll merely direct you back to the video (or audio).  But you know I'll be back to offer more here, in time...

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"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient observation than to any other reason."

-- Isaac Newton