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Herbert ButterfieldHistorian as Dissenter$
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C.T. McIntire

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300098075

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300098075.001.0001

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(p.164) 7 Religion
Herbert Butterfield

C. T. McIntire

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on another set of themes on history, religion, and morality that had also occupied Butterfield's mind for many years, aside from Fox and general modern history, which he had pursued after the Second World War. In place of what he takes to be Acton's vision of history as a moral conflict between good and evil, with the historian declaring who is on which side, he recommends construing history according to a more ambiguous morality. According to Butterfield, history may be characterized more appropriately as a theater of both cooperation and tragic conflict. The tragic character of things is created by the reality that sin is distributed on all sides of any human event and that all people are sinners and act more harmfully than they ought.

Keywords:   general modern history, Acton's vision, moral conflict, ambiguous morality, cooperation, tragic conflict

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