History Journal - 2003
Indeed, whenever our exacting Western society...begins to doubt itself, it asks whether it has done well in trying to learn from the past, and whether it has learned rightly. (1)
~ Marc Bloch
Across several centuries the human story has captivated the attention and interest of millions. Evidence in grand scale tells the stories of those who have spent lifetimes pursuing the study of history. In fifth century BC, Aristotle was engaged in the study of social structures and formation of governments. Petroglyphs carry the tales of ancient historians recording small fragments of an extinguished local culture. And tiny pieces of turtle shell bear inscriptions of a vibrant, but primitive China. Methods of doing history have changed over time, and modern philosophies have nudged the discipline toward a more professionalized effort than in previous decades. Yet it still holds the firm attention of many willing pupils.
In its contemporary application, the historical method presents the historian with difficult questions. Why study history? Can we really learn from history? Do people even need history? And if so, whose history should be written and for what purposes? Is history a science? Is it merely propaganda? (2) Still, amid the debated tenets, the observant and determined historian will find that the study of history also offers abundant insight and knowledge.
In the twenty-first century, communities both domestic and foreign, are interacting with each other as never before. This interaction brings both advantage and inevitable conflict. But history, fraught with the gems of knowledge, provides valuable perspective and understanding. It is in this sense that the study of history is essential. Bringing individuals, even entire communities, to an appreciation of difference, is merely one of history's many virtues. In the words of the noted historian Marc Bloch; 'Misunderstanding of the present is the inevitable consequence of ignorance of the past.'(3)
The title of this publication is Crescat Scientia. Translated from Latin, it is an imperative which means,'may knowledge increase.' As the founding editor, it is my expectation that this scholarly venue will provide just such an increase. A perpetual outlet for students and faculty to contribute insight, discernment, and understanding, for our collective benefit. Simply,Crescat Scientia is a concerted effort to increase knowledge and solidify the academic process of understanding. Indeed, through the continual study of history, our knowledge will increase.
Jacob N. Sommer
1 Marc Bloch,The Historian's Craft (Toronto:Alfred A. Knopf Inc. 1953), 6.
2 Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt, and Margaret Jacob,Telling the Truth About History (New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 1994), 4.
3 Bloch, 43.