"The historian’s first duties are sacrilege and the mocking of false gods. They are his indispensable instruments for establishing the truth."
by:
Jules Michelet
(1798-1874)
Source:
History of France, 1833
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Reader comments about this quote:
It is impossible for human beings to write unbiased history. Apparently, it was equally impossible for Jules Michelet to write on the subject of bias, without bias, for what, in Monsieur Michelet's opionion are "false" gods?
 -- Bryan Morton, Stuart, Florida     
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    Mocking? Time to go back to school!
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    It is the historians duty to be a reporter and tell what it was people believed in, how they acted, who murdered who etecetera. He does not have to have opinions on the facts which of course may be hard to avoid, but he should strive for it. For a read on the notions, opinions and attitudes of the Middle Ages read and on how honest history should be written read "Waining of the Middle Ages" by the Dutch historian Huizinga, it is a clasic written in the 1920's and considered to be one of the best still today. It will change your life and understanding about the behaviours and attitudes that have come down to us from that period.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    some
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Impartiality is the sign of a great historian. Those with personal takes on history often are 'flash in the pans' and tie there opinion with history often distrorting the truth. If this is all people want from history they are betting off reading a gossip magazine. History is trying to establish the truth. It is a pure dicipline and has been tainted by TV deals for too long.
     -- WILL, portsmouth     
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    This quote is almost clever. Before a historian or anyone else can engage in deliberate sacrilege he must first be able to determine what, if anything, is sacred. To mock false gods he has to know which, if any, gods are true. To be able to do carry out these so-called duties, especially the latter, would require some level of subjectivity. I consider the products of objective historians to be closer to the truth.
     -- A.WOODS, Gloucester     
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