Mark Noll on Teaching History as a Christian

That self-understanding has led, first, to a firm belief that when I teach students in a history class, we are engaged in more than just projecting contemporary power relationships back onto the screen of the past. Put positively, increased confidence in the truthfulness of historic Christianity – in the religion defined by the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Chalcedonian definition concerning the person of Christ – has almost completely freed my mind from skepticism about the human ability to understand something about the past.

Historical study is not a game. The creeds that affirm God created the world, including the universe of human interactions; that God testified to the noetic capacities of humanity by becoming incarnate in human flesh; and that, by providing for human salvation through the person of Jesus Christ, God showed that people could discover at least partial truth about events and circumstances in the past as well as the present. Since these creedal realities define my faith, I have implicit confidence that, because of how God has configured the world, teaching about the past may actually uncover truth about the past.

Mark A. Noll, “Teaching History as a Christian” in Religion, Scholarship, and High Education, ed. Andrea Stark (University of Notre Dame: 2002) p. 163


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