Detraction for historical purposes?

Hi,

I read on the Catholic encyclopedia:

Historians have a still greater latitude in the performance of their task. This is not of course because the dead have lost their claim to have their good name respected. History must be something more than a mere calendar of dates and incidents; the causes and connection of events are a proper part of its province. This consideration, as well as that of the general utility in elevating and strengthening the public conscience, may justify the historian in telling many things hitherto unknown which are to the disgrace of those of whom they are related.

Would this mean that it is allowed for a student to show the faults in a historical figure in an essay? Thank you

This is a very difficult and much debated question among historians. The general rule is that historians record the past and don’t make judgements. That makes writing about, for example, slavery or the holocaust very difficult and one has to be careful to stay objective, but not in such a cold way that it diminishes the suffering of people. Historians are often less interested in recording faults an sich; historians try to explain the decisions and historical events that lead to that particular flaw in someone’s character.

Hey, thanks for the reply. It was very helpful

I noticed that I misplaced this thread in Sacred scripture; I meant moral theology

Click on the triangle and report your own post, so as to gain the moderator’s attention. Then, simply ask that it be moved.

What’s the difference between “detraction” and genuine historical reassessment based on continuing research?

Hi,
That’s where I am having trouble discerning. Detraction is unnecessarily showing the faults in others. Based on this article, and on common sense, I can try to give the most unbiased and objective account of historical facts as possible, which wouldn’t be detraction, lots historical facts serve useful purposes

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