History and Objectivity

Anthropologist

Looking through old files on my computer for something else, I came upon this snippet of a thought. Comments or reaction?

History and Objectivity

Can one do “history” of individuals who are still alive, or whom we have known? Some would say we are too close, but does chronological and emotional distance help? Think of the Jesus research, the complaint is that we don’t have information that is close enough. What if we know for certain that we did? The complaint would then be that it is not objective.

Analogy: Within a forest or at its edge I can tell you what trees are there, their species, height, age, proximity to one another, but I cannot tell you how far the forest stretches in any direction. From a mile or more back I may be able to see the full circumference of the forest, but now I must estimate the age, spacing, size, etc. of the trees and determining their individual characteristics may now be impossible.

 

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