If two historical works, both written by respected historians, disagree on facts, how do you determine what truth is?

About what fact is, you can not disagree.In history, however, we often do not know, what fact is. That Napoleon lived, everyone will accept. At Jesus, that is all that little bit more complicated. And this Jesus also may have said nothing, if he has not lived. What he has said, when it is indeed a fact that he has lived, we also do not know exactly. For that we must assume witness messages. How reliable are they regarding what he actually said?

The one historian will say that he cannot have said this and that, what this and that witness notice, for example because this is not consistent with another more reliable testimony.The other historian will then be able to challenge the trustworthiness of that more reliable testimony.

You have to imagine the history as to the determination of what fact is as a lawsuit, where only witnesses and clues are, but the smoking gun is lacking.

Sometimes you can experience something important, so they write about it in the newspaper.If you read the article you will see a lot of mistakes. ‘ It’s just not right what’s in the paper. If you read the article years later, after you forgot the exact speech, you might think ‘ what nice, I forgot it completely, so it has gone. The big lines in the story are knocking After all, only some details are not correct.

There is no historical truth, just a historical probability.The facts that a historian has are historical sources, especially texts but also other objects all sorts of archival pieces, old buildings, paintings, and so on.

A good historian will always indicate which sources he has used.A history book sometimes seems to be a detective: looking for the facts. Sometimes sources speak against each other, or some sources are from much later time, then the historian can tell the different versions, or simply overwrite them literally.

It gets harder if you are going to interpret the facts as well.Is The English prime Minister President May very weak or very strong? Why did the British not set aside the outcome of the referendum? Is It perhaps better for Britain to be out of the European Union? In A history book, you can often read why someone is doing something and what the consequences of his actions are. But those are not facts, but an interpretation of the facts.

If you write about the causes of the Eighty Years War then you can find the iconoclastic very important, or you can omit the image storm altogether.The real cause is looking elsewhere, for example in the honor of the Oranjes.

But then what is true?What are the facts?

In fact, as soon as you read a history book, you are also a historian.Sometimes you don’t agree with the writer and make another tradeoff. Later, you understand even more, just because you have grown older and you see things different again. This is how the same history is always told, always different, not because the past changes, but because we change.

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