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Historiography (from Greek: Ιστοριογράφος, historiographer, the union of Greek: Ιστορία, historia meaning "History" and Greek: -γράφος, graphō, from the root of Greek: γράφειν, to write, meaning: "who writes, or describes, the History") is both the process of writing history, and the methodology used, but also the study of the method.[1] Literature relevant to the past event in question can also be referred to as historiography, so that there can be historiographical approaches toward certain historical claims being made in ancient texts, like the resurrection of Jesus in the New Testament. The underlying assumptions of the historian, and the method used to write history are brought to light by making public the worldview from which the historian operates from. In turn this exposes to public scrutiny the whole range of overarching presuppositions and practical applications from which the historian has sifted sources, interpreted the past through archaeology and written about history.

Earl E. Cairns, professor of history at Wheaton College until retirement in 1977, defines historiography in this way;

The term historiography is sometimes used to mean the process of writing history, which includes the gathering of documents; critical research to validate each document's authenticity, genuineness, and integrity; the interpretation of the data; and the imaginative written restatement of past events.[2]

In the Concise Encyclopedia Britannica historiography is;

Writing of history, especially that based on the critical examinations of sources and the synthesis of chosen particulars from those sources into a narrative that will stand the test of critical methods. Two major tendencies in history writing are evident from the beginnings of the Western tradition: the concept of historiography as the accumulation of records and the concept of history as storytelling filled with explanations of cause and effect.[3]


  1. Historiography By Wikipedia
  2. Earl E. Cairns, God and Man in Time: A Christian Approach to Historiography (Baker Book House 1979), pg 11
  3. Concise Encyclopedia Britannica (2006), pg. 879

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