Introduction

Ruffell, I. and Hau, L. I. (2016) Introduction. In: Ruffell, I. and Hau, L. (eds.) Truth and History in the Ancient World: Pluralising the Past. Series: Routledge studies in ancient history. Routledge: London and New York, pp. 1-12. ISBN 9781138839403

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Abstract

This introductory chapter situates ancient constructions of the past, in historiography and in other genres (especially poetic genres), in the context of modern discussions of truth and history. Historians have debated with, if anything, increasing vigour the nature and function of history and historiography, while philosophers have sought to explore more relaxed notions of truth to find systematic means of talking about the range of types of belief and other propositional attitudes. We argue that ancient historiography does nor represent, as it were, a ‘false start’ that has been superseded by more modern, ‘scientific’ certainties, rooted in positiivism, but anticipates the increasing acknowledgement of uncertainty and plurality in historiography and philosophy of history, in some respects because of a reaction against determinist models (e.g. Marxism) and in part under the direct influence of postmodernism. It has also been increasingly acknowledged that the writing of history cannot be divorced entirely from official and unofficial practices of memory; at the same time, the status of historical truth has increasingly been tested and upheld in courts of law (e.g. in cases of Holocaust denial). Attempts to explore alternative models of historiography have ranged from counterfactual history to creative writing, in attempts to locate types of truth that would have been familiar to ancient authors; responses have sought to replace simplistic positivism with updated scientific models. The theory and practice of ancient uses of the past, which are the topic of this volume, reflect much of the scope of these modern debates.

Item Type:Book Sections (Introduction)
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ruffell, Professor Isabel and Hau, Dr Lisa Irene
Authors: Ruffell, I., and Hau, L. I.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
D History General and Old World > DF Greece
P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Classics
Publisher:Routledge
ISBN:9781138839403

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