The Art of Historiography

Source: Historical Research Method: Home (Edith Cowan University ) 2012 A.D.

Historiography is the study of historical writing.

God is blessing us to reclaim our history, so it is important we know what we are looking for and know how to piece history together accurately as we progress.

Below is the historical method from Edith Cowan University that one can use for research. Remember to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in all that you do.

From the Historical Research Method source, “

Historical research or historiography“attempts to systematically recapture the complex nuances, the people,meanings,events,and even ideas of the past that have influenced and shaped the present”. (Berg & Lure, 2012, p. 305 )

Historical research relies on a wide variety of sources, both primary & secondary including unpublished material. 

Primary Sources

  • Eyewitness accounts of events
  • Can be oral or written testimony
  • Found in public records & legal documents, minutes of meetings, corporate records, recordings, letters, diaries, journals, drawings.
  • Located in university archives, libraries or privately run collections such as local historical society.

Secondary Sources

  • Can be oral or written
  • Secondhand accounts of events
  • Found in textbooks, encyclopedias, journal articles, newspapers, biographies and other media such as films or tape recordings.

Historical research involves the following steps:

  1. Identify an idea, topic or research question
  2. Conduct a background literature review
  3. Refine the research idea and questions
  4. Determine that historical methods will be the method used
  5. Identify and locate primary and secondary data sources
  6. Evaluate the authenticity and accuarcy of source materials
  7. Analyze the date and develop a narrative exposition of the findings.”

I believe the best sources to use for this discipline are listed below.

  1. The Bible: The message in the Bible is perfect in every way because God’s Word is sure and true, so He is our “left and right limit”. However please realize that man has made their own redactions to the biblical text so one must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and be like the Bereans to study the biblical text. In my opinion, the Bible gives the overall, general picture for many things and different histories fill in the gaps. Understanding different histories can provide context for different things that take place in the Bible and different regions mentioned in the Bible. A challenge in this field of research is trying to bridge the gap between ancient ethnicity and modern ethnicity. Differentiating between ancient nationality and ancient ethnicity is another difficult aspect of this field of research.
  2. Ancient and Medieval Historians: When ancient historians like Herodotus, Strabo, Diodorus of Sicily, and Tacitus state that certain ancient groups like the Egyptians and Colchians were black, utilize their words. Why? Because these were influential white men who are “heavyweights” in the realm of various histories. When medieval scholars such as Al-Idrissi state Jews are in West Africa, utilize their words. If the oral traditions of a people assert a certain stance, take them seriously (value what “the people” value). This is why the Ancient-Medieval Model concept is so important. The closer someone is to an actual event taking place, the more details they can recall more accurately which is why their words should carry more weight. When people try to discredit ancient and medieval historians, especially when it comes to the black origins and/or presence of various ancient civilizations, be respectful of their opinions but keep it moving because each man’s way is right in his own eyes. No matter how much evidence you show people and you poke holes in their Eurocentric beliefs, some people won’t change. You can’t educate someone who doesn’t know they need to be educated. The “Ancient-Medieval” model was inspired by and taken from Dr. Martin Bernal’s “Black Athena” (a book series) “Ancient Model”. My model also borrows heavily from Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso’s “neo-euhemeristic” lenses that ties into and augments Dr. Bernal’s “Ancient Model”. Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso uses a multi-disciplinary approach that overlaps with Dr. Bernal’s work to a degree, but her work goes deeper into the mythological and ethnographic evidence.
  3. Sources written by Jewish Rabbis, Jewish historians, influential Muslim leaders, and Muslim historians: When Jewish sources state Shem is black, use them. When Jewish sources talk of the blackness of Jews, use them. When Jewish sources state the tribes of Israel were exiled to Africa, use them. When Muslims state that Shem and his descendants were black and/or in Africa, use them. Why? Because it is extremely rare when two diametrically opposed faith groups agree on anything and the fact that both of these faiths are Abrahamic faiths gives merit to what they state at times. It is worth noting that in the early to middle parts of the Middle Ages, Jewish and Islamic scholars were not far apart in terms of some elements of historiography because there were overlaps.
  4. Sources and pieces of literature written by Various different groups of our white brothers and sisters: When our white brothers and sisters admit an ancient civilization like Egypt, Israel, or the Phoenicians were black and/or racially mixed, use the work and literature produced by them. Why? They dominate the fields of history, anthropology, and other forms of academia that control the narratives in which different histories are portrayed. What does this mean? What they say carries a lot of influence and most people listen, so support them and ally yourselves with them. This also dispels notions of “Afrocentric” thought because some of our white brothers and sisters are coming to the exact same conclusion black peoples are. Black people, at least some, will listen to a white brother or sister before they listen to another black person.

Please seek to understand the historical and cultural time frame in which an event is taking place. View a source from as many different angles possible, as well.

If several theories revolve around a certain topic, then the most sound conclusion will most likely be a combination of all of the theories.

Remember, whenever handling academia, try to avoid saying things like “The University of…said this,” because universities publish the works of individuals who arrive at their own conclusions. Take in the facts that those individuals state but spit out opinions if it contradicts Scriptures or all other forms of evidence that confirm what the Bible states. Whatever historical source you are viewing, it may be wise to do a word search for several words: black, Jew, Israel, Judah, brown, curly, Berber, negroid, dark, dark-skinned, red, white, light-skinned, Spanish, Portugal, Portuguese, and Africa. Why? Typing in these keywords through the search bar can take you to some good information in a piece of text very quickly when doing this type of scholarship. You have to squeeze as much data as possible from one source as possible and use discernment to differentiate facts from opinions in a piece of text. With more than 4,000 years’ worth of history to try and navigate, there are too many books for one to try and read fully, so finding quality information fast is needed.

Utilizing Google Books, Google Scholar, JSTOR, archive.org, z-lib.org, websites that end with “.edu” which means they are educationally or university based, and various other platforms that are credible like different research journals that promotes peer-reviewed research is key in this field of research. Peer-reviewed works and pieces of work that can be found on websites ending in “.edu” or in research journals are extremely heavy weighted in the scholarly realm so whenever you find pieces of work on those platforms that support your research endeavors, it is wise to use them. However, Google Books, Google Scholar, archive.org, and z.lib.org at times have older, more “unorthodox” sources on them that have been produced by credible people or come from credible sources yet they may not mentioned in peer-reviewed sources or “.edu” website because their information may fall out of mainstream thought, they have been forgotten, or for reasons only God knows these sources have not been used at the forefront. In order to find good sources from these various platforms, entering key words like “negroid Phoenicians”, “negroid Assyrians”, “negroid Jews”, “Shem and Ham were both black”, “Shem was black and beautiful”, and the list goes on. Utilizing words such as “negroid” and “black” can greatly assist you in your research endeavors on these platforms.

Please utilize the concept that I call “Holy Triangulation”. Meaning, the Bible is the first and foremost source which is also the most important “living” source. The secondary sources are secondary “The Peoples” (e.g. human testimonials, their customs, their traditions, migrations, DNA, etc) and “Hard Evidence” (e.g. written documentation, reports, first hand accounts that have been written down, written legends, DNA, crania studies, etc). The Ancient-Medieval Model ties into “Holy Triangulation” because history is the interpreter of biblical prophecy, so the closer someone is to a historical event taking place the more emphasis we should place on that person’s account. If ancient and medieval historians state their people acquired knowledge from another civilization, believe them. If ancient and medieval historians state a specific group of people were black and/or mixed, believe them. The Bible states what is to happen or what has already happened and history points to what God has stated shall come to pass. If there is no history to support a biblical exegesis regarding biblical prophecy , then that biblical prophecy has most likely not taken place yet. All marks must be met for a particular biblical prophecy, not just some because God’s Word is perfect in every way. Additionally, if some parts of a biblical prophecy are too hard to clearly discern, then that biblical prophecy has not been fulfilled because God’s Word is clear.

If I had to give an elevator pitch for how to best approach this field of study, it would be something like this, “The extensive thoroughness of Dr. Frank M. Snowden meets the multidisciplinary bar-setting standard of Dr. Chiekh Diop in the vast interconnected ancient world of Dr. Martin Bernal’s “Ancient Model” seen through the “neo-euhemeristic” lenses of Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso that connects the past to the present with scholars such as Guy Cadogan Rothery’s work on modern and ancient Amazonian groups”.

The last pieces of advice I would give to anyone who feels led to traverse through this field of study are: avoid presentism (placing our views onto the past) and deal with the “messiness of history” (dealing with the competing viewpoints throughout history). Also, try to avoid using absolute words in this field. No one knows the full scope of God’s plan and history is consistently being rewritten, so stay open-minded because no one has this all figured out and no one ever will but God Himself.

By Black History In The Bible

"And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." - John 8:45-47

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