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Historiography 

Historiographical traditions developed slowly in the ancient world. In Greece and Rome the writing of history was a branch of literature. The most appreciated historians were those who, like Thucydides, touched on universal problems or, like Tacitus, wrote in a dramatic way about important events. Their works were judged more on their stylistic methods than on their accuracy. Christian historiography in medieval Europe emphasized divine influence in human affairs. The fascination with pagan antiquity which characterized the Renaissance led to the development of philological studies and textual criticism, a renewed emphasis on style, and a gradual awareness of the process of historical change, along with a desire to recapture the rational causes of events. With the Reformation, the starting point for a Protestant rewriting of history was the idea that the "true Church" always existed. The "true Church" was understood to have been at times overshadowed by the enemies of the divine order, including the upholders of papal authority as well as pagans and heretics. Historians writing in this tradition were uninterested in objectivity, but they gathered masses of documentary sources to support their arguments. The Enlightenment introduced new impulses in historiography: a sense of the unity of human history, including an interest in continents outside Europe; a capacity for bold generalizations about the important features of particular periods or societies; and a preference for topics connected with the progress of human civilization. In the nineteenth century historiography emerged as a distinct discipline. It was practiced mainly by professional academicians. 




Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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