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Darwin-L Message Log 8:36 (April 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<8:36>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Wed Apr 13 20:00:28 1994

Date: Wed, 13 Apr 1994 21:00:15 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: _Utter Antiquity_ (new book)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Here's a book I just came across on our library's new book shelf; perhaps
it will be of interest to some here:

  Ferguson, Arthur B.  1993.  _Utter Antiquity: Perceptions of Prehistory
  in Renaissance England_.  Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press.

On quick examination it appears to contain lots of interesting material
on very early comparative mythology, chronology, and philology.  The
opening runs like this:

  The purpose of this study is to explore the historical consciousness
  of Renaissance England as it sought to penetrate the mists of that most
  distant antiquity where history all but loses itself in myth and legend
  and where the historical imagination must serve, by default, the function
  of interpretation.  We now know a great deal about how English thinkers
  of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries perceived the documentable
  past, but we know relatively little about how they perceived the past that
  stretches beyond, except, of course, for the version preserved in the Bible.
  Such lack of knowledge is strange, too, because that very stretch of time
  meant a lot to people of that day.  In it, in the various gentile versions
  of it as well as the biblical, in what we should nowadays call "prehistory,"
  they sought the logical vanishing point for the perspective of history they
  were coming more and more to consider essential, not only to the completion
  of their picture of universal history but to their own orientation in an
  age of ever more evident change.  [p. 1]

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

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