History, in illuminating the past, illuminates the present, and in illuminating the present, illuminates the future — Benjamin N. Cardozo
What, exactly, are the things we do each day, and why do we do them? Why do many of us eat cereals and other grain-based foods for breakfast (and why do we call it breakfast anyway)? What clothes do we wear to work or school (and what would the Hittites or Picts consider “business casual”)? Why, when encountering people in public, do many of us avoid making eye contact (or, when conversing, look those same people directly in the eye)? Why eat the day’s last meal in the early evening…or late at night…or in the mid-afternoon? Why do these things in these ways?
The answer, of course, is each of us is a wriggling bundle of bizarre eccentricities…well, that and we are shaped by our culture, which is itself shaped by an amazing number of extraordinarily diverse cultures and individuals throughout the ages.
The Historic Life looks at daily life throughout the ages—from rising in the morning to going to bed at night—and ponders how these practices both resemble and differ from what we do today. By looking at the thinking and activities of people from the past, we gain a better understanding of who we are and where we’re going.
And we frequently have a chuckle at some truly weird stuff.
About Jason Barker
I’m a religion writer and publisher, spending over twenty-five years creating materials on ancient and modern Christian spirituality. Related to this work, I’m also an amateur historian (which is a fancier way of saying bumbling dilettante).
To lay down the book nerd equivalent of street cred, I have degrees from Washington State University and the University of Balamand, and have engaged in further studies at Texas A&M University, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and other places that would probably prefer not being mentioned here.