John Baines, Henriette van der Blom, Yi Samuel Chen, Tim Rood (eds.), Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in the Ancient World, Equinox Publishing, 2019, 402 pages. ISBN-13: 9781781796566
Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in the Ancient World offers linked essays on uses of the past in prominent and diverse cultures in ancient civilizations across the world. The contributors are leading experts in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Sinology, Biblical Studies, Classics, and Maya Studies.
This volume addresses crucial questions in current scholarship on historical consciousness and historiography. These questions include the formation of different traditions and the manifold uses of the past in particular socio-political contexts or circumstances; the ways in which these traditions and these types of cultural memory informed or contributed to the rise of more formal modes of historiography; interactions between formal modes of historiography and other traditions of historical consciousness during their transmission; and the implications of such interactions for cultural heritage, collective memory, and later understandings of history.
By taking an interdisciplinary approach, this volume situates the rise of formal modes of historiography within a larger context of developments in historical consciousness and a wider web of intercommunicating discourses. It also uncovers intellectual processes, literary mechanisms, and social institutions involved in the construction of history. During the construction of ancient historiographies, while many local traditions persisted, some ancients gradually went beyond the temporal and spatial limitations of their local traditions, arriving at a more extended and unified timespan, a wider geographical region, and a common origin.