SCHIFFMAN, ZACHARY SAYRE GRAFTON, ANTHONY (FOREWORD).
Title The Birth Of The Past.
Book Condition Softcover. Brand new book.
Publisher The Johns Hopkins Universiy Press, Baltimore and London: 2011.
Seller ID 92526X1
How did people learn to distinguish between past and present? How did they come to see the past as existing in its own distinctive context? Zachary Sayre Schiffman explores these questions in his sweeping survey of historical thinking in the Western world. Today we automatically distinguish between past and present, labeling things that appear out of place as "anachronisms." Schiffman shows how this tendency did not always exist and how the past as such was born of a perceived difference between past and present. Schiffman takes readers on a grand tour of historical thinking from antiquity to modernity. He shows how ancient historians could not distinguish between past and present because they conceived of multiple pasts. Christian theologians coalesced these multiple pasts into a single temporal space where past merged with present and future. Renaissance humanists began to disentangle these temporal states in their desire to resurrect classical culture, creating a "living past." French enlighteners killed off this living past when they engendered a form of social scientific thinking that measured the relations between historical entities, thus sustaining the distance between past and present and relegating each culture to its own distinctive context. Featuring a foreword by the eminent historian Anthony Grafton, this fascinating book draws upon a diverse range of sources—ancient histories, medieval theology, Renaissance art, literature, legal thought, and early modern mathematics and social science—to uncover the meaning of the past and its relationship to the present. Zachary Sayre Schiffman is a professor of history at Northeastern Illinois University, author of On the Threshold of Modernity: Relativism in the French Renaissance, and coauthor of Information Ages: Literacy, Numeracy, and the Computer Revolution, both published by Johns Hopkins, and editor of Humanism and the Renaissance. "Combining erudition with theoretical intelligence, Zachary Schiffman distills a theme, the discovery of 'the past,' that sheds new light on the history of western historical thinking from Herodotus to the eighteenth century. Some readers will disagree with some of Schiffman's interpretations. All, however, will be stimulated and enlightened."—Allan Megill, Professor of History, University of Virginia "Anyone with an interest in the history of ideas, or the history of historiography for that matter, will find that this books repays close attention."—Malin Dahlstrom, Reviews in History "Thought-provoking."—Steve Goddard, History Wire - Where the Past Comes Alive
(Key Words: Zachary Sayre Schiffman, Anthony Grafton, Time, Anachromisms).