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The Truth will set you free

Why Study History?


(by John Fea)

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.

1. What Do Historians Do?
2. In Search of a Usable Past
3. The Past Is a Foreign Country
4. Providence and History
5. Christian Resources for the Study of the Past
6. History for a Civil Society
7. The Power to Transform
8. So What Can You Do with a History Major?
Epilogue: History and the Church
Appendix: A Proposal for the Center for American History and a Civil Society


“"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. This book will be a great conversation starter in a wide array of Christian college classrooms."

Douglas A. Sweeney, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“"John Fea's Why Study History? performs 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, professor of history, Baylor University

“"John Fea's love of his craft is infectious and his knowledge of it inspiring. Serious readers of Why Study History? will find their own love and knowledge of history deepened in satisfying and fruitful ways. We are fortunate to have such a gifted public scholar in our midst."

Eric Miller, professor of history, Geneva College; author of Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch

“"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, director, Center for Faith and Inquiry, Gordon College

“"Professor Fea's scholarly integrity and theological insight ensure that Why Study History? will generate many hours of lively discussion on the relationship between Christian faith and the study of history. Fea challenges both the careless discourse that passes for historical inquiry among many Christian groups and the conventional norms of the discipline he clearly adores. 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 than Why Study History?"

Arlin C. Migliazzo, professor of history, Whitworth University; editor of Teaching as an Act of Faith

“"[Fea] devotes himself not only to his own highly-regarded historical scholarship but also to training up new generations of historians. In this introduction to historical study from a Christian perspective, Fea shows how serious thinking about the past can equip believers to better serve God and neighbor."

Matt Reynolds,

Christianity Today

“"[Fea] argues that believing that humans are created in God's image should encourage us to see glimpses of the sacred in human history. And the belief that all people are created in God's image mandates taking seriously the breadth of human experience across time. . . . Perhaps it is safer to just leave the past behind. But that is not [Fea's] recommendation. Fea even recommends the discipline of history to Christian undergraduates. . . . [Christians] should follow Fea's advice to examine aspects of the past that initially repel them. . . . Such encounters, Fea maintains, remind us that we are 'imperfect creatures in need of improvement and redemption.'"

John G. Turner,

Christian Century

“"A thoughtful, readable, and challenging book. Whether you are seeking entry into the historical profession or not, this book offers the general reader an apology for the importance of historical study. [Fea] has provided a word to the church and to the broader community that healthy churches and healthy communities cannot exist in the context of historical amnesia. This is, therefore, a book for our times, for we do live in the midst of a period of historical amnesia that threatens the future. May we heed John Fea's call to embrace the study of history--both professionally and as essential avocation."

Robert Cornwall,

Ponderings on a Faith Journey blog

“"Very well done. . . . [Fea is] a top-notch scholar, a good teacher, and, in this case, offers an excellent overview of a Christian view of the study of history, and why it matters to us all. I hope this volume becomes very well known."

Byron Borger,

Hearts & Minds Books blog

“"A useful and insightful look into how the fields of history and theology intermingle. The book, written primarily for History students, explores the ideas of how history can, and is, looked at through the lens of theology. It also does the opposite by trying to help the reader appreciate theology by looking at it as a historian does. The book gives many tools for thinking about history and theology in these ways, and it accomplishes this in an interesting and purposeful way. . . . Anyone taking the Bible and biblical history serious[ly] will find many useful tools in the textbook."

Trent Nicholson,

blog (

“"What is history? Why bother studying it? John Fea has written this accessible and jargon-free book to address these questions. . . . Fea writes with wisdom and insight and provides a helpful introduction of history [for] undergraduates and for those who would like to study history. . . . He obviously has a passion for history, and this passion comes through. . . . This book will help all budding historians be better historians."

Steve Bishop,

An Accidental Blog

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  • Model: 9780801039652
  • 3 Units in Stock
  • Published by: Baker Books

This product was added to our catalog on Monday 07 April, 2014.

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