Early church librarian, Pamphilus of Caesarea, in the mid-200s, would make copies of Scripture and “correct the manuscripts of the Bible.” Even back then, there was a godly reverence for correctly copying Scripture.
In spite of that, many documents have come to us “corrupted,” or changed in one way or another.
In fact, it is said, there are more discrepancies in the copies of the New Testament than there are words in the New Testament (quote from White Horse Inn episode below). What should we make of that?
Does this mean the Bible is actually inaccurate? Does this mean the Bible is fallible and unreliable? How do we know that what we read is actually the historical truth?
In this day and age, many opponents of Christianity attack the New Testament, attempting to collapse the great foundation on which Christianity rests. They have a point. << READ ON >>
This Istrian stone monolith was found in 1588, near Ravenna as a part of the city wall. It is from the mid-first century. You have a family–a woman with her arm around a man (her husband?) and a sleeping/deceased girl-child in her arms. Underneath the man and woman are two young men and under them a third boy. On the very top you have the bust of a woman.
What is their story? Who is this family? They have only been remembered as far as their names and faces. You can see that the family wanted to reflect the intimacy between the woman and man, and the woman’s love for the little girl. But nothing else is known of their story, only faces and names. A piece of history has been forgotten.
The Italian text says:
Gli appartenenti ai due gruppi che commissionarono il monumento sono rappresentati con busti entro nicchi alternate a pannelli iscritti. In alto e raffigurata Firmia Prima, quindi nella nicchia liberto Lucio Firmio Principe e dall’ anziana Firmia Apollonia che stringe al petto la piccola Lesbia probabilmente sua nipote. Al di sotto sono I due busti dei fratelli Marco Latronio Secondo e Salvio Latronio Saturnino e, nella nicchia inferiore fra due alberi di alloro, il giovane Sperato, schiavo nato in casa verna. L’interesse della stele e dato dal cara… realistico dei ritratti femminili di Firmia Prima Firmia Apollonian intensamente caratterizza personaggio piu importante colei… monumento sibi et suis de percunia…
A rather rough internet translation of this says:
Those belonging to the two groups that commissioned the monument are presented with busts within niches alternating panels subscribers . High and depicted Firmia First , then in the niche freed Lucio Firmio Prince and the ‘ old Firmia Apollonian embracing to her chest small Lesbia probably her niece . Below are the two busts of the brothers Marco and Latronio According Salvio Latronio Saturnino and , in the lower niche between two laurel trees , the young Hoped , a slave born at Verna . The interest of the stele and gave the dear … realistic of female portraits of Firmia Before Firmia Apollonian intensely characterizes character she most important monument
(would love to have a better Italian translation, if anyone can help.)
The whole monolith
The stone can be found at the Ravenna archeological museum, next to San Vitale Church.
History is filled with mysteries such as this one. Of course we cannot always know the lives of everyone who ever lived, but if their story is not written, it floats off into the dark recesses of history.
This just goes to show:
History is not names and dates.
History is the why*s and the wherefore*s of those names and dates.
If you want to really “Do History,” then make sure you are applying the principles of historical study.
Instead of looking for primary source documents with a random Google Search, start with actual history sites!
What to do:
Let’s say you have the prompt: “What were the three most significant causes of the Fall of Rome“
1. Plan your search.
Before finding primary documents, you need to know WHAT you are looking for. Review a history book to get a general idea of the kind of answer you seek. Make a list of at least 10 keywords you are looking for. Narrow down what exactly you are looking for. Are you looking for a journal, a letter, a picture, a speech, a statistic?
Plan: I read in my textbook that the borders were weak. Barbarians came. I read about the moving of the Capital to Constantinople.I read about problems with the emperors, and about nationalism, something about Theodosius.
“Fall of Rome,” “barbarians,” “Constantinople,” “Theodosius,” “Roman borders,” “Roman emperors,” “Roman nationalism,” and “Theodosius” are my search terms.
I am hoping to find a letter that a Roman who lived then wrote describing the problems they were having.
2. Narrow Down, then Search
Click on the most relevant link below. Narrow down from category to subcategory. Use the search feature to type in your pre-planned search terms.
Hint:you can do a search on any website, even if they do not have a search feature, by using the following method.
In the address bar, copy the website up until the subfolder you are interested in. (Make sure the subfolder does not end with .htm or .html, because that will merely search on the page, not for all related documents.)
Stay Organized! Scrivener is a good method for organizing research, since in one project there are different areas to file various types of information–chapters or pictures or research links.
Don’t forget to copy the source link BEFORE copying the vital information. Always copy the link first, paste it on your sources page. (You can format it later, but get that link saved!)
The worst thing a researcher can do is to spend hours finding something, but then not be able to track it down again later, so he is not able to use that evidence. Back up where you found that vital piece of information.
Ancient and Medieval History
I) Global History and Geography: Reading and Documents (Alternately available from Classical Historian). This book is a very nice introduction to the value of primary documents. There are questions at the end of each excerpt, enabling students to consider the source critically. Though it is not an internet source, it provides a necessary and “bite-size” transition to the study of primary source documents.
US History, Uniquely
II) Library of Congress American Memory Timeline in particular is the holder of primary documents from United States history.
World History, including US History
III) Spartacus Educational exists for the purpose of connecting young readers to primary source information. This site index sorts history by topic or by time period.
VI) JSTOR.COM There are a lot of historical documents here. You can sign up for a free account and have access to three documents at a time. While these are not all directly primary documents, they quote primary documents and can be a valuable source of books to look for. Often Jstor leads you to Google Books.
VII) Online Booksa)Google Books I have found quotations of otherwise unavailable research in topical studies available in the searchable academic books available through Google Books. Some pages are not-viewable, but often those missing pages can be found if the books has an b) Look Inside feature on Amazon. Sometimes the books are available secondhand at a very reasonable price. c)Gutenberg.org has many digital copies of documents available for free online viewing or download. If the document is in the public domain, it may be found there
These are starting places. The key is to have a direction, key words, a plan. If you do not prepare yourself before you begin, you will get lost in a swamp and turn up nothing substantial, having wasted your time. Know what you want and see what treasures you find!
God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness covered the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. And God said, “Let there be Light.” Gen 1:1
Was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through Him, without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was Life and that Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:1
This is a beginning of a new phase in my life, a time when a dream of mine is close to fulfillment. Becoming an author of historical fiction books. I have always had a love relationship with history, most particular ancient history. I know the exact moment I fell in love.
Second grade. Teacher’s name escapes me (I’m sorry!) but she used to call me “darling Darlene” on my papers. We learned Ben Franklin’s proverbs that year, we kept a daily diary and there was a boy named Dustin and a boy named Brian in the class. We had a class bunny, and I loved playing with Playschool people outside after school with my neighbor named Kirk. The feelings of freedom, of play, of innocence, of joy at life. I was in America again, after growing up in Japan. I could understand people and was finally learning to read.
Then the teacher read to us the story of Pompeii. It was my first time time-traveling.
She read to us of the daily life of the people of Heraculum and Pompeii. Of the earthquakes and the steaming volcano. Of the eruption of smoke, and the overflow of lava. Of the people running to the sea. Of the ash that covered the people. Then, she read of the archaeologists and anthropologists who uncovered those people. Of how the ash had solidified around the poor people who could not escape Nature. Of how they used plaster to fill in the cavities, and the faces of those people came to light again.
The awe at science, at history, at new knowledge started in me that day and has continued without ceasing.
Saint Augustine said, Credo ut intelligam. This means, “I believe in order that I may understand.” Knowledge is inextricably tied to faith. Faith is the recognition that our senses do not completely tell us everything there is to know about the world.
QUESTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
First of all, the whole question of consciousness is a mystery that no one has yet explained. It is simply jumped to in explanations of how the mind works.
Reason can explain to us three things related to this.
1) Creation We look at creation, and common sense shows us that such an amazing variety and complexity had to originate from laws and rules. In our world, we would not think an iPad could appear out of nothing without reasons for its existence, so it takes less faith to believe in Creator than a random assemblage of molecules creating trees and planets and bacteria and DNA.
2) The Cause The second thing reason explains to us is that either the Cause is personal or impersonal. If the Cause is personal, and we matter, it would communicate with us, since we have a consciousness of that dilemma in the first place.
3) Perfection Reason also leads us to recognize that if there is a Cause and Creator, “IT” would have to be the SOURCE of perfection. Logically “IT” could not be both good and evil, both truth and falsehood, both powerful and weak. So is “IT” all evil, all falsehood, all weak? Or is “IT” all good, all truth, all powerful? We have in us the ideal that strives for the good, the value written into our human consciousness, REGARDLESS OF OUR CULTURE OR RELIGION, is that there is such a thing as PERFECT GOOD. Of course, we strive for it with different standards and rules, but it is a commonly shared part of human consciousness. We commend those who are “good” and shun those who are “evil.”
Without creation, we would see no cause, without the cause we could consider no perfection.
Big Questions: So do we matter? Has the Cause communicated? Is the Cause personal? Is “IT” a “HE”?
QUESTION OF PERCEPTION
The second question to consider, is: can our senses be trusted to guide us into all knowledge?
Watch this video, which shows us just how amazingly accurate our senses are (not)
Back to St. Augustine’s saying, “I believe in order that I may understand.” If we limit ourselves to our own perception of the world, we limit our ability to understand the world of unseen things.
If this CAUSE is personal, if mankind MATTERS, the Creator Cause would communicate to us in a way that defines Himself with all the perfection that Reason proves he must be. So, is there such a communication?
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. In the beginning was the Word. The Word became flesh.
By what name does HE call Himself? This in itself shows us that He encompasses all of what reason says He must be.