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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Frank, With all due respect to Maddy, it was I who raised the question :-)))  And I also appreciate all the responses.
MG

Marjorie Greene
http://medrelart.shutterfly.com/

--- On Mon, 9/21/09, Frank Morgret <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Frank Morgret <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [M-R] Believers as Historians
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Monday, September 21, 2009, 10:59 AM

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Madeleine Gray wrote:
> Early in her text, she makes the following startling (to me) statement:
> "A friend who is a well-known art historian once told me how, as a student, she had been assured by her colleagues that any scholarly accomplishment in the area of Christian art was out of the question for her because she was a 'believer'".
>
Maddy,

As most on the list know, I am a semi-retired Lutheran pastor.  Last week, I made a historical presentation to a group of Lutheran clergy that dealt with some less laudable aspects of Lutheran history.  (The list will be delighted to know my bruises are almost all gone, having faded to an almost unnoticeable yellow.)

Luther spoke and wrote of each person being 'incurvatus in se'.  By that he meant, among other things, that we have a tendency to have a higher opinion of our own values, attitudes, thoughts, and conclusions than we do of those of others.

Following Luther, I believe the idea of presuppositionless  history is poppycock.  No historians takes pen to paper or fingers to keyboard unless s/he has some point to make, and it is her/his point.  I was taught that how well one does history depends on how fairly one handles the evidence, not on keeping a blank mind.  I readily admit my 'fair' may -- in fact likely is -- different from your 'fair' or that of any other member on the list.
Part of my fairness is my admittedly incomplete knowledge of my biases.  Thus I continue to struggle with the ancient Greek aphorism, "Know thyself."  That's probably one reason why there are no books by me in that stack awaiting you.

Thank you for raising this question, and thank you to the list members who have commented.  (The discussion has eased my bruises.)

Regards to all,
Frank

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