Quotation by Thorleif Boman

The Greeks have given to the world the science of history; the Israelites gave to the world historical religion. In contrast to all their neighbors, both peoples knew what history is; this is no consequence of their mental giftedness, however, for there is another reason. Through mighty events both peoples experienced what history is, and by the investment of their lives they made history. The peculiar mental capacity of each of the two peoples comes to the fore in the way in which they experience history and express it. For both peoples history was a source of present and future knowledge. Thucydides wrote his history because what happened would, according to human ways, surely happen again in the future in the same or a similar way. This was conceived in a genuinely Greek way, for history is an eternal repetition; nothing new happens under the sun. Even in the stream of eternally changing events the Greeks sought the unalterable, the regular occurrence. Thus they employed the same method with regard to history as with regard to nature because history was a piece of nature. For this reason their mental life can justifiably be called non-historical. If God is to be found, he must be sought in the unalterable, in mental being, in the Ideas. God revealed himself to the Israelites in history and not in Ideas; he revealed himself when he acted and created. His being was not learned through propositions but known in actions.
Thorleif Boman, Norwegian theologian. Originally published in England, SCM Press (1960). Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek, ch. 3, Norton (1970).
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