- Historical Thought from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment
- De achttiende eeuw
- Volume | Issue number
- 46 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
Some authors claim that the first traces of modern historicism can already be found in the early modern period. This is, however, a questionable point of view. Early modern historical thought had its own specific nature, which can be described in terms of a continuous quarrel between ancients and moderns. Until the end of the eighteenth century the past was unproblematically used as a source of examples for the present. At the same time, however, several authors started to explore the distinct character of the past, and there were important developments in the field of historical method. Significant changes occurred in the way the past was approached between 1500 and 1800, but underneath these changes early modern historical thought retained the paradoxical trait of combining an appreciation of the differences between past and present with a belief in their basic similarity.
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