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Review – Saracens by John Tolan

Tolan has produced a clear, thorough, and comprehensive introduction to the perception of Islam in the West. While somewhat restricted in terms of source material—it relies almost exclusively on histories and treatises—it is chronologically wide-ranging. The reader can follow the developments and disagreements over centuries. Tolan synthesizes massive amounts...

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Book Review: Sacred History by Van Liere et al.

Van Liere, Katherine, Simon Ditchfield, and Howard Louthan, eds. Sacred History: Uses of the Christian Past in the Renaissance World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. What if ecclesiastical history in the era after the Reformation was not just a detour or even an impediment to “modern” secular history, but rather a...

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Livy, Progenitor of Modern History

I am a historian by profession and introspective by temperament. This combination naturally leads me to questions such as, “What am I actually doing when I’m doing history?” After all, if a basic dictum of history is that all human activity is contextual, contingent, and mutable, these qualifiers must...

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