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More Than Dates & Dead People: Recovering a Christian View of History [Paperback]

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Most students hate history classes and this is odd when one considers that people today seem to be more interested in history than ever. People travel to historical sites during family vacations, and best-seller lists are filled with books on history and historical fiction. Furthermore, some of the most popular films of recent years have been about history: Titanic, Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan. More Than Dates and Dead People is an upbeat, edgy look at history as something exciting rather than a boring list of dates to memorise. It views history as something fun to study because it is about people: how they live, what they believe, what they do, ideas that uplift and others that enslave. According to Stephen Mansfield, the difference is in the world-view of the beholder. Materialism, which essentially is the philosophy behind how history is viewed today in many educational settings, believes that the future is blank and that man is pushed forward by the past. Theism, on the other hand, believes that God first decided what the end - the destiny of history - would be.Thus, having decided the future first, beginning with creation, He began to draw manking through the ages to a final destiny. It is God's future that gives history its driving force and its meaning. The difference between these two world-views is everything, and in More Than Dates and Dead People the author works out what this means and why in a biblical world-view. History is no more the story of blind men groping toward a dark and fearful future. Instead, it becomes the unfolding of a future that God decided before creation, providing hope for all and making history a wild ride that never gets out of God's control.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   126
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 20, 2000
Publisher   Cumberland House Publishing
ISBN  1581821182  
EAN  9781581821185  

Availability  0 units.

Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General   [16214  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > History > Historical Study > Historiography   [604  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General   [8607  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Poor Scholarship  Jul 4, 2008
If you are alive and realize your life is more than just dates, then it only follows that your personal history is foremost a story and not a set of disconnected facts. Accepting this axiomatically, I nevertheless ordered this (and another) book on a personal recommendation. I'm sorry I did. Both books contained such weak scholarship that I was ashamed for their authors and publishers. (I posted a separate review for the other book).

If you are looking for a book that makes history come alive I would first recommend Eggleston's "A History of the United States and Its People", and next Carey's "Eyewitness to History". After that it would be a toss-up between any of the following: "A History of Private Life", "Guns, Germs and Steel", "Liberal Fascism", "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History", "A Patriot's History of the United States", "A Little History of the World" or any of 100 other great books.

The substantive advice I would give is to steer clear of history textbooks. All tend to be: 1) written too quickly, 2) constantly revised to include new facts (making them ever more disconnected instead of improving their readability), 3) financial fat cows (intended to make money for publishers, colleges and authors), and finally 4) tailored to both facilitate classroom quizzes and examinations, and to address specific content on standardized tests (the only thing more suspect than teaching to the test is writing to it).

This book is in no danger of being confused with a textbook (though I bet it's on somebody's supplemtals list), it is also not going to excite anyone about this subject nearly so well as the other titles I've listed.
More Than Dates & Dead People......  Sep 8, 2007
I HAVE NOT RECEIVED THIS BOOK Do you plan to send it?

Discovering the love of history  Aug 14, 2007
I hated history in school, but now I understand why this was so! History was taught to me from the evolutionary, secular humanist mindset, and thus it could have no purpose, plan or meaning. I thoroughly enjoy history now, because I have been freed to see that all history, even our own seemingly inconsequential little lives, can have enormous influence.

Even if you are not Christian, Mr. Mansfield's method of dissecting history is spot on: you only need to understand 5 arenas as you examine the people and times of the past: 1) religion; 2) culture; 3) Law; 4) education; and 5) art.

What is religion? It is "ultimate concern." It is that to which men willingly give their lives, what occupies their thoughts, their money and their time. No society or individual is free from it, including Richard Dawkins.

What is culture? According to Mansfield, culture is "religion externalized." Differences between cultures are simply the expression of ultimate concerns that permeate a society. Understanding different cultures requires looking at the next three aspects (law, education and art).

What is law? It is a culture's attempt to set standards of moral behavior, to deal with matters of truth, fairness, and justice. I must quote Mansfield here: "You will sometimes hear people say, 'You can't legislate morality.' This isn't true, though. In fact, morality is all you can legislate. For example, why don't we have laws that require pink flowers in all second-story windows boxes? These laws sound silly, don't they? And the reason they sound silly is that they have nothing to do with morality, with right and wrong. That's why we have laws that deal with murder, stealing, personal assault, and discrimination. These are issues of truth, fairness - what is right. They are issues of religious truth [ultimate concern]."

"This also explains why laws vary so widely between countries of the world. In some countries with an Islamic heritage, it is permissible to chop off the hand of a thief. This is because of the teaching of the Koran. In some countries, a woman has no rights to speak of, and this is, again, because of the religious system that shapes the legal system....All of these laws sound strange to us because we have a different religious system behind our laws and a different understanding of what is true, what is right, and what is fair."

What is education? It is the transmission of ultimate concern from one generation to the next.

What is art? Religion or "ultimate concern" symbolized (in art, music, film, literature, etc.). Art communicates the hopes, dreams and beliefs of a people.

Isn't that a handy way to categorize history? Truly it is "more than dates and dead people!"

Mansfield gives a helpful list of resources at the end of his book to help the reader get started. He includes books, magazines, films, organizations, etc.

Excellent little book. Very engaging.
Couldn't Put It Down!  Jul 14, 2007
This is my favorite introduction to the study of history. This concise book is required summer reading for my homeschool academy humanities students. It is well written - easily digestible & interesting, generously seasoned with humor. The first sentence is an immediate hook. I cannot recommend this excellent book highly enough.
Theory of history  Jan 9, 2007
Provocative historical interpretation, albeit with a theological bias. Even more focus on the Reformation as an historical turning-point would strengthen it.

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