Contributing opinion writer
Spencer W. Glassman
The humanities must be studied for their own sake, not as shells of what they once were, nor as stepping-stones to something “actually important.” The humanities cannot beat the sciences at their own game, and they shouldn’t try. Each discipline has fundamentally different goals. In order for the humanities to recapture importance we must relitigate the question of materialism. Studying the Humanities is fruitful apart from anything else.
History is the acknowledgment of both the past and the future, of the beginning and the end, and therefore of what is eternal. We must situate history as the basis of the humanities, as it articulates the covenant that makes it possible to ask: What does it mean to be human? In studying history we elevate humans from mere accidents in time and space to a group meaningful in and of themselves. We can only understand who we are and what we will be through knowing what we have been, because that which is essential about us does not change.