Christopher Blum, The Historian and His Tools in the Workshop of Wisdom

New in the Fall 2010 issue of Logos (13.4), the scholarly journal of the Center for Catholic Studies, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota is Christopher Blums's robust article on the role of the historian.  He uses John Henry Newman as guide in determining what that role might be.  Now, of course, as Blum points out, "history" does not make it into Newman's Idea of A University.  For Newman, history had always a subordinate role to play in "the workshop of wisdom" (to borrow a phrase from Pope Gregory IX).  And yet--the study of history played such an important role in Newman's own life and conversion.  So where does the study of history fit in education, if at all?
Blum answers this in three steps.  He first explores the role "that historical study played in [Newman's] conversion, then attend[s] to his reflection upon the place of historical study within a liberal education, and, finally, sketch[es] an answer to the question of the historian’s role in the workshop of wisdom today."

The sketched answer is striking and Blum's prose on the way to that answer profound and invigorating--rather worthy of Newman.  Here is one passage near the end of the article. "It is in an age of cultural dislocation and fragmentation that the historian takes on another role, becomes a raider of archives and a wielder of footnotes, and rides out like a knight-errant in defense of wisdom" (30).  Read Blum's article here.

Christopher Blum is a professor at Thomas More College, Merrimack, NH and author of two books of translations from the French, Critics of the Enlightenment: Readings in the French Counter-Revolutionary Tradition (ISI Books) and The True & Only Wealth of Nations: Essays on Family, Economy, and Society by Louis de Bonald (Sapientia Press), and a number of essays on topics of Catholic interest.



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