History is simply the collection of facts about the past.
Unpacking the claim
It is important to define what each term means. I would personally define “history ” as events that happened in the past and helped altered the way things are. Events that happened in the past doesn’t necessarily mean events that happened a long time ago, it could be events that happened moments ago which changed the view of a particular person. Events can vary from as small-scaled as personal history ( such as when you were born) to large-scale ( such as World War Two). Both of the events had somehow shaped the world. I would define “collection of facts” as things or information that is known to be true or proven to be true. They are very objective and are the reality of what the thing or information. The claim as a whole would mean that history is the study of the past which reflects the reality.
However, this claim paints an unfair picture of the study of history because
- History is not a collection of facts
History might not contain purely facts. People who wrote history can affect the reliability of history as often, they incorporate their own views, causing history to be biased. There are often disagreements in historical accounts due to the way different people intepret the situation. As history is often written by winners, historical accounts are often exaggerated, part of the situation might have been magnified and exaggerated while some are ignored and were not covered. Also, during the translation of history, the words used to explain situations might affect one’s interpretation. For example how do we know if the New Testament Text are reliable and completely reflect the originals destroyed almost two millennia ago? Communication is never perfect; people make mistakes. Errors are compounded with each successive generation. When we try to conceptualize how to reconstruct an original after 2000 years of copying, translating, and copying some more, the task appears impossible. It has also been translated into different languages, the wording used might not have accurately reflected on the situation, some words might appeal to our senses and emotions, causing individuals to integrate differently.
2. History not only study the past events, it also helps the predictions in future
By looking back to the past to what is called history, we can better understand the present and predict the future. With history we can track our origins and compare past patterns with present and future patterns. Modern technology teaches us new ways to do things. Looking back into history tells us why we do these things. We should be able to see mistakes made in the past and hopefully we can learn and avoid repeating them while at the same time look and learn of the good things of the past.