The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940 Page: 417

Book Reviews

Mrs. Parsons has organized her material well, and her book has
the added merit of being well written. Some very charming
aside remarks frequently relieve an otherwise monotonous repeti-
tion of illustrations.
The University of Texas.
A Historian's Creed. By Henry Osborn Taylor. (Cambridge:
Harvard University Press, 1939. Pp. 137.)
The meaning of history should be known best by those who
have spent their lives in historical study. It is not suprising,
therefore, that the presidents of the American Historical Asso-
ciation have usually reflected upon this theme in their presidential
addresses. The second essay in this little book was such an ad-
dress, the theme of which has been further developed in four other
essays. The last essay was read at the Harvard Tercentenary.
The author seeks the meaning of history in its continuity.
"Life holds the aimfulness of creative evolution," and "the crea-
tivity of the present . . . is carried into the future." There
has been progress from the primitive to civilized society, and
the "growth of mind or soul" suggests a divine purpose, in which
the author has faith. He even suggests that this continuity may
go on to a future psychic survival.
In the last essay, the author makes a final interpretation of
his chosen field of history, and suggests that in the Middle Ages
we may find ample proof of the working of continuity, for the
medieval mind, being of a "less originative type," was engaged
chiefly in reappropriating its Classical and Patristic heritage.
But it does not follow that medieval minds were "less origina-
tive" because they reappropriated this heritage; they had no other
material with which to work. Instead of returning to the Classical
attitude, they moved forward toward the modern viewpoint, which
was one of the greatest changes in all history. Medieval people
did understand their Christian heritage, to which they devoted
much of their best intellectual efforts, but when scholasticism
had run its course, their minds turned to other interests. Medieval
art was the expression of religious emotion, but does it follow
that the artistic originality of medieval people would have found


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940, periodical, 1940; Austin, Texas. ( accessed April 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.