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Herodotus and his WorldEssays from a Conference in Memory of George Forrest$
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Peter Derow and Robert Parker

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253746

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253746.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 August 2021

‘Prophecy in reverse’? Herodotus and the Origins of History

‘Prophecy in reverse’? Herodotus and the Origins of History

(p.237) 14 ‘Prophecy in reverse’? Herodotus and the Origins of History
Herodotus and his World

Thomas Harrison

Oxford University Press

This chapter does not aim to not to review (still less to seek to replace) earlier treatments of the ‘origins of history’. Rather, it suggests a different — broader — approach to such a question, and to offer another, complementary answer. In particular, the hypothesis will be advanced that the origins of history writing were (to a significant degree) theological. It argues that Herodotus' beliefs, convictions, and attitudes concerning the divine — far from consisting in a series of isolated and discrete passages — inform his Histories much more broadly. Herodotus' principles of selection, his organisation of his narrative, his presentation of causation, and finally (what we might term) his ‘aims and objectives’: all these can be seen to be underpinned by theological assumptions.

Keywords:   Herodotus, history writing, origins of history, Histories

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