"Let no one say that I have said nothing new: the arrangement of the material is new." Blaise Pascal

January 14, 2013 at 1:30pm

Wineburg describes one historian’s reading in some detail; he was not an expert on Lincoln, and wrote numerous comments on the documents indicating uncertainty, but eventually wound up with a particularly deep, expert-like understanding of Lincoln’s ideas. In short, he did what most historians try to do and to teach others to do—something which goes beyond “putting X in historical context,” because it requires admitting that we start with an inadequate understanding of the context, and need to feel confused for a while before we can “get it right.”

— AHA President Kenneth Pomeranz in Not by Numbers Alone