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Ancient Europe, 8000 B.C. to A.D. 1000: An Encyclopedia of by Peter I. Bogucki, Pam J. Crabtree

By Peter I. Bogucki, Pam J. Crabtree

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Example text

Then, whilst continually emphasizing that, it seeks to bridge the gap through transfer. The new beginning is a recommencing, and takes its strength, or its authority, precisely from being such. In the end, the restitutio can be seen as an operation that serves as captatio and translatio of the past authority onto that of the present, though on behalf of a past that it makes its own. Christianity and the Church: authority and the past? Rome provides a key example of the authority of the past, both for herself and for her later impact during the course of Western history.

A critical history of Western historical times needs to encounter these directions as a twofold trajectory, whose parts cannot be separated from one another. It is on this condition that Western engagements with ancient and modern temporalities can offer a critique of Eurocentric historiographies of the Greek and Roman pasts. By highlighting the resistance of those pasts to unifying European narratives and the ruptures within the narratives themselves, a history of Western historical times can ground interpretations of the European past in what John Dunn called the problem of closing the context:46 the consideration of the closure that inaugurates the historiographical operation by dividing past and present as a problem that needs to be posed anew and retrospectively, thus directing the history and politics of both past and present time.

Modern has not remained stable throughout its history. Yet it is possible to discern, through the various shifts in its meaning, a certain conjunction of the ideas of break and continuity, which emerged during the Renaissance, but came to be consolidated towards the late eighteenth century, as the distinct product of European modernity. The second part of this volume, ‘Ancient History and Modern Temporalities’, focuses on philosophical and historiographical articulations of this temporality over the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

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