Re: Living and dying with Inaccurate History

Rodney Dunning (
Sun, 2 Mar 1997 00:19:00 -0500 (EST)

> At 09:07 PM 3/1/97, Rodney Dunning wrote:

> >Is answering the
> >journalistic questions necessary and sufficient, or necessary but not
> >sufficient for establishing a story as "history"?

On Sat, 1 Mar 1997, Glenn Morton wrote:

> I would say that it is necessary but not sufficient. In order to gain
> sufficiency, one must test the apparently journalistic statements made
> against reality and see if they stand up. If I say that Darth Vader cut off
> the arm of Luke Skywalker on the Cloud City, that is a statement of a
> journalistic nature. Now, to determine whether it is true one compares it to
> actual cities. Do we know of a city which floats in the air? No. Do we
> have bionic men like Darth, who can think someone into a chokehold on their
> throat? No. Are there any such situations in a galaxy far, far away?
> Unlikely. Thus all I can say is that as far as I can tell, that story is
> not journalistic in spite of its appearance. It is entertainment.

I agree that if by "history" or "journalistic" we mean "that which really
happened," then only those accounts that truthfully answer the
journalistic questions are "historical" or "journalistic."

But I must apologize, because I was using the word "history" in a different
way in my question. I meant history in the sense of the nature of the text
itself. The quality I had in mind is simply that imparted to the text when
the author wishes us to believe that he is conveying actual events. If he
does so truthfully, then his document becomes "history" in the sense you
thought I meant, as well.

My question is, how can we tell if a given text, say Genesis, possesses
this quality? Is answering the journalistic questions necessary and
sufficient to convince us that the author intends to convince us that we
are reading about actual events?

Rodney Dunning
voice: 910.759.4977 or 910.759.4980
fax: 910.759.6142