What is the purpose of studying history? How do we reflect on contemporary life from a historical perspective and can such reflection help us better understand ourselves, the world around us, and the God we worship and serve?
In this introductory textbook, accomplished historian John Fea shows 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. Deep historical thinking can relieve us of our narcissism; cultivate humility, hospitality, and love; and transform our lives more fully into the image of Jesus Christ.
John Fea (PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook) is associate professor of American history and chair of the history department at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He is the author of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? and the coeditor of Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian's Vocation. He writes a popular daily blog, The Way of Improvement Leads Home.
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.
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