"Mom, how can I tell if this book is telling the true story?" HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris discusses using primary sources in your study of history, on this edition of Home School Heartbeat.
True scholarship requires in-depth study, and students will benefit from learning if they also use primary-source documents in their own study of history. When people use primary sources, they can turn history into great stories with real people, not dry summaries.
Benson Bobrick uses primary sources to tell incredibly interesting stories in his book Wide as the Waters, which is the history of the English Bible. As the story begins, common people have little personal knowledge of the Scripture. But just over 200 years later the world is turned upside down as the English Bible pervades the culture, sanctioning, as Bobrick says, the right and capacity of the people to think for themselves.
The truth had, in reality, set the people free. One reformer proclaimed, "The art of printing will so spread knowledge that the common people, knowing their own rights and liberties, will no longer be governed by way of oppression but will rule their own lives." It's easy to imagine the fear one bishop expressed when he said, "Either we must root out printing, or printing will root out us."
By sifting through primary sources, students get a more personal and accurate view of the past, and gain a greater appreciation for the real stories of real men and women on whose shoulders we stand. I'm Mike Farris.
Dear HSLDA members and friends:
Nothing in my brief remarks on radio should be understood to disparage the Roman Catholic Church of today. HSLDA takes no position on such issues and my comments were not intended otherwise.
That does not mean that I agree with the actions of the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of England or any other officially established church during the era of Wycliffe, et al.
I think that an objective reading of history will demonstrate the prime importance of getting the Bible into the hands of ordinary people. Without the popular distribution of the Bible, we would not have American self-government and the free world would not exist.
I do not understand current Catholic teaching to say anything contrary to these views concerning the importance of the Bible.
Friends will never agree over all details of history. What is important is whether we agree on what should be done today.
The point I was trying to make on Home School Heartbeat was to highlight the importance of the Bible and its influence in our society. No criticisms of any current person or church were intended.
Next to the Bible itself, the English Bible was--and is- the most influential book every published. The most famous of all English Bibles, the King James Version, was the culmination centuries of work by various translators, from John Wycliffe the fourteenth-century catalyst of English Bible translation, to the committee of scholars who collaborated on the King James translation.
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