History Faculty Publications

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Book Chapter

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Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian's Vocation


My premise in this essay is that the historian of religion who is a believer has a distinctive need for conscious reflection on this autobiographical connection. Without conscious reflection, it is too easy fall into cheerleading on the one hand or score-settling on the other. is even easier, perhaps, to lapse into self-indulgence-hence the caveat of my title, which is aimed primarily at myself. Thinking about the roots of my work as an historian has made me more consciously attentive to doing the work of the historian, as historian, well. Thinking about where that work has taken me not only as an historian but also as a believer has opened up vistas I never would have imagined seeing. I will offer below three examples of how this has happened is happening yet. The first has to do with the origins of my conscious awareness of the particular task of the believing historian who is a member of a tradition that makes historical claims; the second, with how self-consciousness, once evoked, continually opens up new dimensions of that original task. The third episode attempts to capture some sense of how this sustained integration- pursuing the scholarly intellectual tasks of the believing historian-has reinvigorated and deepened belief that helped prompt the intellectual journey.

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University of Notre Dame Press

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Notre Dame, IN

Peer Reviewed