The Scope of the Subject Matter (Domain) of Historical Research

  • Jerzy Topolski
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 88)


Further reflections on the methodology of history require a preliminary orientation as to the scope of interests ascribed to the science of history. This refers to a general framework concerning which a general consensus could always be obtained. This will outline the field for detailed reflections on the subject matter of history.


Subject Matter Past Event Historical Research Research Procedure Term History 
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  1. 1.
    J. Wikarjak, Historia powszechna Herodota (Herodotus’ Universal History), Poznan 1961, p. 5. See also J. Dobiaš, Dějepisectvi v starověké (Ancient Historiography), Praha 1948, pp. 86-7.Google Scholar
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    F. Müller, De “historiae”vocabulo atque notione, Mnemosyne vol. 43, 1926, pp. 234–57, in particular, p. 246. See also K. Keuck, Historia. Geschichte des Wortes und seiner Bedeutung in der Antike und in den romanischen Sprachen, Münster 1934.Google Scholar
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    Cf. H. J. Marrou, Qu’est-ce-que l’histoire. L’histoire et ses méthodes, Paris 1961, pp. 3 ff; R. Jolivet, Définition et sens de l’histoire. L’Homme et l’histoire, Paris 1952; J. Dobiaš, Dějepisectvi v starověké, pp. 86-7.Google Scholar
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    It would be to the point to recall J. Lelewel’s reflections from 1818. He wrote that “the word historia is taken in its various meanings. It denotes both events and narratives, that is, the noting down of such events. The Polish word dzieje seems to correspond to events to be spoken about, and it may also replace the meaning of the word historia (…) events (dzieje) expounded in this (i.e., scholarly — J. T.) way usually bear the august name of history in its most exalted and noblest sense. Except for the German language, which in this sense uses the word Geschichte, all other European languages adopt the Greek word historia, without any further interpretation. The Polish language can also accept it readily.”(J. Lelewel, Dziela (Collected Works), vol. II, part 2, Warszawa 1964, p. 871.Google Scholar

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© PWN - Polish Scientific Publishers - Warszawa 1976

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  • Jerzy Topolski

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