The interpretation of the past is at the core of many of today’s divisive political and cultural debates. In this introductory textbook, accomplished historian John Fea shows how studying the past can help us understand the present world in which we live. Deep historical thinking has the potential to transform the lives of individuals and society, because it enables us to understand those with whom we differ on important issues. Studying history can relieve us of our narcissism; cultivate humility, hospitality, and love; and transform our lives more fully into the image of Jesus Christ.
Why Study History? explains why Christians should study history, how faith is brought to bear on our understanding of the past, and how studying the past can help us more effectively love God and others. Professors and students of history will value this unique, accessible introduction to the study of history and the historian’s vocation.
“John Fea is quickly becoming one of the most important voices in the up-and-coming generation of Christian historians. His reflections on the study of history brim with scholarly insight, age-old Christian wisdom, and practical advice.” – Douglas A. Sweeney, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“[A] tremendous service for all students, teachers, and readers of history. His provocative, entertaining approach raises all the right questions about the historical vocation.” – Thomas S. Kidd, Baylor University
“John Fea’s love of his craft is infectious and his knowledge of it inspiring…..We are fortunate to have such a gifted public scholar in our midst.” – Eric Miller, Geneva College
“John Fea has written a splendid, engaging book at once erudite and accessible. Anyone interested in the craft of the historian or the relationship between historical inquiry and the life of faith stands to benefit from having this volume within reach.” – Thomas Albert Howard, Gordon College
“Those seeking greater clarity regarding the intrinsic value of historical study and its proper appropriation would be hard pressed to find a more valuable resource.” – Arlin C. Migliazzo, Whitworth University
John Fea (PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook) is associate professor of American history and chair of the history department at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He is the author of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? and the coeditor of Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation. He writes a popular daily blog, The Way of Improvement Leads Home.
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