Classical Me Classical Thee (Part 8)

Chapter 10 is titled, “Behind the Drill: History”

“The goal of studying history is not simply to exercise your memorizing muscle, pooling up historical facts the same way you might memorize the birthdates of all the players in the NFL — perhaps impressive but ultimately pointless.

The point of history is to teach you to be like the men of Issachar ‘who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do’ (1 Chron. 12:32). And the reason history is so important is that we are actually all characters in a story. What happens in chapter 13 is intricately connected to the things that happened in chapters 1-12 …

But hopefully you’ll come away from your years of history having a very basic and generally clear map in your head, beginning with the Garden of Eden and working its way down to twenty-first century America. You’ll know how the empires fit together. You’ll know whom the Persians conquered and who conquered the Persians, and how that sets the stage for which parts of the Old Testament. You’ll know where the greatest minds of history popped up on that basic timeline. And, importantly, you’ll also know how to dig and find out more. You’ll know how to ask the right questions, and you’ll know that cultural phenomena never just arise out of thin air. You’ll know how to begin to trace the thread back to something earlier, and how to identify causes and effects where other people only see chaos.

And, ultimately, this sort of wisdom will help you navigate all the decisions of your daily life: the little mundane things like which Facebook stories you click ‘like’ on, and which political candidates you decide to support, and how you process the evening news.”