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Book: The Bible for the Curious

Chapter: 3. The Old Testament and History

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.35684


Almost always, ‘the Bible as history’ is used to mean ‘what the Bible says

really happened’. But before comparing Old Testament histories and modern

histories, it is vital to bear in mind that ‘history’ can mean three things:

the past, a story about the past, or the study of the past (the latter, ‘History’

with a capital H). The first of these is a popular but misleading usage: history

is not ‘the past’ but rather a story about the past. No history can represent

all of the past, but only excerpts within the past: periods, nations,

areas or institutions. What histories do is focus on a piece of the past, but

also make it meaningful by creating a narrative from it. ‘History’ is story.

Chapter Contributors

  • Philip Davies ( - philipdavies) 'University of Sheffield, (Emeritus)'