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History is About Truth, Not About Partisan Fantasy

Posted on the 21 September 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
Richard III Richard III: not so bad after all?


On the heels of claims that Jesus may have been married and apologies for the behavior of Richard III, who may be buried under a carpark in Leicester, Simon Jenkins in The Guardian strikes a blow for truth.

“Partisan history tends to be the realm of nerds. It seduces students into over-confident conclusions, to prop up preconceptions of “goodies and baddies”. Positions once adopted become impervious to reason or research. Radiocarbon dating revolutionised archeology in the 1960s but was dismissed out of hand by many older generation scholars. Today’s DNA techniques threaten many of the assumptions of pre-history.

Researching the past is not just a quest after forgotten people, objects and events. It is supposedly a ceremony of reason, a rebuttal of ancestral myth, a way of looking at the past with the same rigour that we ought to apply to the present. Politics without history is likely to lie. To surrender a dispassionate search after truth to the cause of fantasy, however enjoyable or profitable, is to court superstition and fanaticism.”

What do you think? Does it matter whether Jesus had a wife? And should we try to rehabilitate Richard III’s much-maligned character?


More in historical discoveries

  • Jesus was a hermaphrodite (maybe)
  • Jesus was married
  • Richard III buried under carpark


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