Corresponding to the general trend of the intellectual world described in the previous section, historical research is also facing the challenge of skepticism, and skepticism first points to the authority of the church and launches a long-lasting, detailed and in-depth criticism of the Bible.
Doubt also points to the reliability of historical cognitive means, and establishes the solid foundation of historical research by perfecting evidence criticism.
Doubt also points to the ultimate significance of historical knowledge, so it changes history from the messenger of divine will to the knowledge to explore the changes of human society.
These changes are of great significance not only to the construction of history itself, but also to the progress of European ideas.
Such a change process makes Chinese ancient history and Chinese chronicles have a place to play in Europe.
The first section is the characteristics of medieval historiography.
The introduction of Christian thought has some effects on the concept of history: 1 Under the influence of Christian original sin, divine grace and the doctrine of Genesis, people believe that the process of history is not the purpose of mankind, but the practice of God’s purpose.
Because God’s purpose is a purpose for human beings, a purpose to be reflected in life and through the activities of human will, or human beings are the tools of God’s purpose. 2. The Christian universalist attitude leads to the view that all people and all nations are included in the planning of God’s purpose.
Therefore, the historical process is of the same nature everywhere and at all times, and each part of it is part of the same whole.
Therefore, Christians require a general history with the theme of God’s universal development of the purpose of life, that is, universal history. 3. Transcendentalism regards things on earth as external and against sacred things, resulting in a dualism about God and the earth, the kingdom of heaven and the world, and the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil.
This dualism is unable to understand the specific specialization of the spirit through various activities and forms, Therefore, the formalized and static dogma must be popular in the world as a universal scale, so another aspect of dualism is dogmatism.
Since the criterion for judging people in all times and places is whether they have been in contact with God’s grace and piety, this transcendental dogmatism has become asceticism, and the whole history of mankind has been shrouded in contempt, terror and lamentation.
The characteristics of Christian historiography under the guidance of the above concepts are as follows: 1 It is a general history of the world that has been traced back to the origin of mankind.
It should describe how different races of mankind appeared and inhabited everywhere, and describe the rise and fall of various civilizations and regimes. 2. It attributes events to the role of God’s will that predetermines their journey, takes history as a script written by God, and attributes all human values to the single value of believing in Christian doctrine and serving the church.
But unlike theocratic history, which emphasizes particularity in the Near East, it does not show a special preference for any character. 3. It should engage itself in exploring an understandable model in the general process of events, and attach the central points of this model to the historical life of Christ. 4. It divides history by stages, but the basic two periods are before and after the birth of Christ.
Everything before Christ can be regarded as a process designed with “Tao into flesh” as the peak.
The establishment of so-called epoch-making events for subdivision is actually a process of using history to express the conflict and victory of truth.
Or history is the history of religion and church.
Compared with the historiography of ancient Greece and Rome, Christian historiography has its progressive significance.
First, for the first time in history, it was understood as progress.
The history of the church describes the struggle between believers and non believers, in which people’s awareness of conflict is higher than that of the Greeks.
The Greeks regard the conflict between the Greeks and barbarians or between free people and slaves as representing nature.
The struggle in the history of the church reflects the conflict and win-win of spiritual values.
Therefore, the pessimism of the ancient Greeks is a hopeless pessimism based on the weakness of human nature, while the pessimism of Christianity is illuminated by hope.
Secondly, the process of historical change is no longer considered accidental, but contains the essence of inevitability.
From the perspective of Christianity, history has become a history of truth, which means that history has also given up accidents and opportunities and realized that it has inherent laws, which are reason, wisdom and Providence, rather than blind destiny.
Finally, since history is regarded as God’s purpose, it is possible to see not only the behavior of historical actors, but also the existence and nature of these actors, that is, the historical importance as a tool of God’s purpose.
In other words, everything appears temporarily in a historical process to complete a certain task.
This implies the concept of “recognizing the historical process and creating its own tools”, which is considered by Colin wood as the first step towards mastering the characteristics of history.
However, the bondage of Christian historiography on spiritual and intellectual activities is also obvious.
First, although the church history pursues the writing method of “universal history”, the church history itself is not developed in the specific universal aspect of spirit, but is rooted in its special provisions.
It does not overcome the particularity of ancient times by recognizing diversity, but abstractly assumes that Christian doctrine is the universal value of mankind, and replaces other particularity with this particularity.
This kind of universal history is actually exclusive in terms of region and concept.
It will be clearly shown when encountering unknown fields or things that cannot be explained by Christian doctrine.
Second, rigid in the concept of time.
Dualism does not unify metaphysics and history, but confuses metaphysics and history.
It avoids seeing things as an eternal cycle and the concept of progress, but believes that time has a beginning and an end.
From the perspective of dualism, history is first divided into sacred history and secular history.
Sacred history originates from the Old Testament and the New Testament and continues in church history.
Secular history is based on any other documents other than the Bible.
It is a witness and interpretation of sacred history.
Furthermore, the sacred history is divided into three branches: the law of nature, from creation to Moses.
On the written law, study from Moses to the coming of Christ.
On God’s grace, research from the birth of Christ to the contemporary author.
Secular history is arranged into spiritual periods or stages with reference to the stages of life age or the days of creation, or a combination of the two, so as to conform to the time stages and changes revealed by the sacred history.
The sacred history and secular history communicate and support each other in a metaphorical way.
For example, it can be divided into three periods: the fuzzy and uncertain period, from the creation of the world to the emergence of the earliest Greek mythology.
Fable period or hero period, from the end of the previous period to the founding of the Olympic Games.
More commonly, it is divided into four periods, namely, the period of the four empires: the period of the Assyrian Empire or the Babylonian Empire, which was founded by the biblical character Nimrod.
The Persian Empire.
The Roman Empire.
The Roman Empire is generally considered to last until the author’s time and is the last period of secular history, followed by the end of the world.
The Roman Empire pointed to the end of secular history in terms of time and concept.
Third, ignore the evidence and facts.
“Asceticism” evolved from dogmatism reduces people’s interest in world affairs and history.
It encourages people to ignore books and vouchers and their dissemination.
It urges people to believe everything they hear and read, makes imagination an uninhibited horse, and always wants to know strange things, so it is not conducive to identification “.
The historiography under the influence of asceticism did not realize the differences in time and place in history.
It used contemporary situations to replace the details of history, and even wrote imaginative history, or forged vouchers to depict the examples in assumptions.
Historical events lose their special significance and only have chronological connection, which is the direct reason for the emergence and prosperity of chronicle form.
Adopting a single chronicle structure for all historical events has become the symbol of Christian historiography universalism.
Fourth, idealize the ultimate meaning of historical knowledge.
Medieval historians viewed materials from universalism.
The duty of historians was not to praise a country, but to describe the deeds of God.
They do not regard history as the performance of human purpose, but as a process with its own objective inevitability and the will of God who gives orders on his own.
For people, history aims to implement Abstract lessons beneficial to reality.
The individual’s responsibility is to be a voluntary tool to promote the objective purpose of history.
If we imagine to change history, it will not only be useless, but also punish ourselves.
Medieval historiography is committed to studying the common concepts such as the concept of divine will, the concept of revelation and epoch-making events, and takes discovering and clarifying this objective or divine plan as its great task.
The role of God in history is intended to be recognized in a way that leaves no free space for human activities.
Therefore, an important feature is to mention the future era, and another feature is to emphasize the significance of historical moral admonition.
As a result, historians think they can predict the future and tend to seek the essence of history beyond history itself.
Fifth, blindly worship ancient times.
Since history is regarded as an established process under the action of God’s will, and historical research is only to discover and clarify this long-standing, unchanging and all inclusive truth, it is logical to respect ancient knowledge, and it is considered an honor if contemporary things can be confirmed with clear ancient and old origins.
As contemporary scholars have commented on Kirsch’s work motivation: “history is not growth, development or progress.
Progress lies in return: truth and the road to truth require the recovery of a long buried truth”.