How Ancient Historians Constructed Dramatic Fiction: Thucydides and the Plague

The plague of Athens is one of the most detailed, vivid and life-like accounts of any event from ancient times. The historian who penned it (Thucydides) assures all readers that he relied upon eyewitness reports and that he personally investigated what had happened in order to be sure of leaving a record that would be … Continue reading “How Ancient Historians Constructed Dramatic Fiction: Thucydides and the Plague”


Ancient Historians: Thucydides, historian of realism, not reality

This continues from my previous post on A.J. Woodman’s argument. There are good reasons for approaching the Book of Acts and other historical writings of the Bible from the perspective of the wider literary culture of their day. Thucydides, the Greek historian of the Peloponnesian War, is generally thought of as an outstanding exception among … Continue reading “Ancient Historians: Thucydides, historian of realism, not reality”


How History Was Done in Bible Times: Myths about Herodotus and Thucydides

Was it acceptable for Greek, Roman and Jewish historians to invent accounts of the past? Did even historians imitate and creatively reproduce entire passages from the great epic poems and tragic plays of their day? Can we trust ancient historians who declare they relied upon eyewitness reports? How does our understanding of history differ from … Continue reading “How History Was Done in Bible Times: Myths about Herodotus and Thucydides”


Two (More) Reasons Ancient Historians Fabricated History

Do ancient historiographers sometimes say things they know to be factually untrue? Emphatically, yes. The accusation of deliberate fabrication is made repeatedly. — John Moles Herodotus is dubbed the father, not only of history, but of lies; Polybius castigates historians not only for incompetence, but falsehood; Lucian tells of historians who claimed to be eye-witnesses … Continue reading “Two (More) Reasons Ancient Historians Fabricated History”


Review part 9: Questioning the Historicity of Jesus / Lataster (Case for Mythicism – the Evidence)

The third part of Raphael Lataster’s Questioning the Historicity of Jesus is where he presents his case for mythicism, and since his case is essentially a review of Richard Carrier’s arguments in On the Historicity of Jesus, this post is a review of a review. Lataster has is differences from Carrier and several times points … Continue reading “Review part 9: Questioning the Historicity of Jesus / Lataster (Case for Mythicism – the Evidence)”


How Ancient Historians Worked — Summary

I’ve decided to wrap up this series with this post. The book I have been discussing is online for anyone interested in following up the issues in more depth. In the future I may have time to discuss how the same points about Thucydides can be found to apply to other ancient historians like Tacitus, … Continue reading “How Ancient Historians Worked — Summary”


The Best of Ancient Historians Following Homer and the Epic Poets

This continues from my previous post on A.J. Woodman’s argument.  History ain’t what it used to be. It is all too easy for us moderns to read a work by an ancient historian, say Josephus or Tacitus or Thucydides (some would even add a few biblical authors), and think that by making allowances for pre-modern … Continue reading “The Best of Ancient Historians Following Homer and the Epic Poets”