Studying short stories such as the “A Short

Studying history
in the contemporary world is highly dependent on the type of approach one
chooses; whether historiographical, theoretical or based on short stories such
as the “A Short Introduction” by the professor of History at East Anglia
University, John H. Arnold. This paper will analyze this book and outline the
various qualities and practices that John Arnold explains in his book as
essential to modern historians.

According to John,
history has many variations and its definition differs over time. This makes it
an interesting subject of study because of this matter, it can never be clearly
classified as science or art; even though these disciplines are part of
history. In the first chapter, John reveals an important aspect of history; the
true story behind the data that is merely relayed over
centuries(pp.3-4).History retells the true stories of happenings of centuries
ago, in the present. This makes historians process makers even though they are
barred by the presentation of evidence which creates bias. This fact clarifies
the argumentative nature of history; which is to make arguments and provide
supportive evidence to prove and persuade people towards a common
interpretation (pp.13).

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Another practice that
John discusses in this book is legibility of sources that historian’s use.
According to him, there is a contradictory approach to the sources; some reveal
the objective truth while others are directly opposite. Well, he hopes that
modern historians adopt a methodology that would strike the balance between the
two, which would lead to greater accomplishments in historiography. In fact,
John gives some guidelines on how to interpret sources; whether primary or
secondary. Modern historians ought to use the sources during their
investigations.

Origin, cause, and
effect are some defining terminologies that make history. According to John,
time was structured by man (historians) and therefore it is arbitrary. History
relies on timeframes to accredit its milestones. However, the big question is,
“who really determines the timelines? Who certified the Middle Ages? Was
1800-1899 really the 19th century? “All these are determined and chosen by
historians. Therefore John reveals helpful insights on the importance of the
modern historians (chapter 5). They should determine the origin, the outcomes
and the effects of the outcomes.

Furthermore, the
relationship between various disciplines such as socio-economic, culture and
anthropology with historiography is brought into focus when John discusses the
concept of mentalities. The fact that for example, historians ought to look not
only for the happenings but also the thoughts and mindset of the people who
undertook the occasion. Maybe the whole evidence being condemned was sensible
during such cultural set-up (pp.96).The relationship between the cultural
language and that of the historians is very crucial in this aspect because in
most circumstances it is the basis of misinterpretation and bias.

In conclusion, John
highlights a very crucial aspect to any historian; truth-telling and this time
about history. In most historical stories even those contained in the Bible
such as the history of Jesus, there are different evidence and the synopsis of
the same story(Gospel of Mark and that of John).Is it a single truth or did
they generate plural stories from a single issue? Even though the evidence
might only settle a debate, such scenarios require moderate relativism because
not a single chronology would be acceptable either culturally, theoretically or
according to religious backgrounds. Clearly, according to John, establishing
the essential truth about the human nature through history might not be
achieved, but writing historical stories about it is attainable.

Studying history
in the contemporary world is highly dependent on the type of approach one
chooses; whether historiographical, theoretical or based on short stories such
as the “A Short Introduction” by the professor of History at East Anglia
University, John H. Arnold. This paper will analyze this book and outline the
various qualities and practices that John Arnold explains in his book as
essential to modern historians.

According to John,
history has many variations and its definition differs over time. This makes it
an interesting subject of study because of this matter, it can never be clearly
classified as science or art; even though these disciplines are part of
history. In the first chapter, John reveals an important aspect of history; the
true story behind the data that is merely relayed over
centuries(pp.3-4).History retells the true stories of happenings of centuries
ago, in the present. This makes historians process makers even though they are
barred by the presentation of evidence which creates bias. This fact clarifies
the argumentative nature of history; which is to make arguments and provide
supportive evidence to prove and persuade people towards a common
interpretation (pp.13).

Another practice that
John discusses in this book is legibility of sources that historian’s use.
According to him, there is a contradictory approach to the sources; some reveal
the objective truth while others are directly opposite. Well, he hopes that
modern historians adopt a methodology that would strike the balance between the
two, which would lead to greater accomplishments in historiography. In fact,
John gives some guidelines on how to interpret sources; whether primary or
secondary. Modern historians ought to use the sources during their
investigations.

Origin, cause, and
effect are some defining terminologies that make history. According to John,
time was structured by man (historians) and therefore it is arbitrary. History
relies on timeframes to accredit its milestones. However, the big question is,
“who really determines the timelines? Who certified the Middle Ages? Was
1800-1899 really the 19th century? “All these are determined and chosen by
historians. Therefore John reveals helpful insights on the importance of the
modern historians (chapter 5). They should determine the origin, the outcomes
and the effects of the outcomes.

Furthermore, the
relationship between various disciplines such as socio-economic, culture and
anthropology with historiography is brought into focus when John discusses the
concept of mentalities. The fact that for example, historians ought to look not
only for the happenings but also the thoughts and mindset of the people who
undertook the occasion. Maybe the whole evidence being condemned was sensible
during such cultural set-up (pp.96).The relationship between the cultural
language and that of the historians is very crucial in this aspect because in
most circumstances it is the basis of misinterpretation and bias.

In conclusion, John
highlights a very crucial aspect to any historian; truth-telling and this time
about history. In most historical stories even those contained in the Bible
such as the history of Jesus, there are different evidence and the synopsis of
the same story(Gospel of Mark and that of John).Is it a single truth or did
they generate plural stories from a single issue? Even though the evidence
might only settle a debate, such scenarios require moderate relativism because
not a single chronology would be acceptable either culturally, theoretically or
according to religious backgrounds. Clearly, according to John, establishing
the essential truth about the human nature through history might not be
achieved, but writing historical stories about it is attainable.