The Importance Of The Discipline Of History

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The premise of the discipline of History is understood to be the packaged and reconstructed historical past and Historiography is understood to be the way in which we study the writings of this historical past and Leopold von Ranke is credited with implementing the processes that changed historiography in the mid-nineteenth century. For context, in assessing some of the contributions made by Leopold von Ranke to the concept of historiography it is necessary to look at the way in which historiography has developed and progressed over various historical time periods. Having discussed the changes and adaptations to historiography over time, it is then possible to analyse, critically, some of the conceptualisations that led to the…show more content…
Renaissance historiography saw the expansion of human enquiry through literary criticism and textual analysis and it was at this time that, through the ‘age of discovery’, humans were seen more as societal beings rather than religious ones. As Gruner summates in his article ‘Ranke’s Historical Theory’, the Rationalists studied history with the view of their own moral standards, whereas Romanticists are seen to have “a higher regard for the sanctity of the past for its own sake and for using a critical approach to sources”. The cyclical view of the classical historiographers was changed by the Renaissance and Reformation historians by focusing on humanity and developing the idea of human progress from one historical time period to the next. From the mid-nineteenth century, the study of History began to be recognised as a discipline in academia, and with this recognition came the development of the processes for the handling of historical materials. The stimulus for these developments were an increase in the information available and textual analysis that was developed in German universities which, as a process, became the study of philology. This process was further developed by Georg Niebuhr (1776-1831) in the fields of literature and theology.

It is from the developments of Georg Niebuhr that Leopold von Ranke conceptualised his processes that are considered the cornerstones of the critical school of History, where facts are
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