APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2003-11 > 1070258267
From: "James Brady" <>
Subject: RE: [APG] Genealogical Theory (inc. Schools, Academics, etc.)
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 00:59:27 -0500
Summed up very well. Thanks for keeping the thread alive.
I suspect that a well-refined "genealogical theory" was never developed
earlier because nobody ever saw the need.
"Political economy", or what we now call "economics", divorcing it from the
pure politics (which itself has developed its' own "theory"), only came into
being in the 1700's with Adam Smith and his "invisible hand". Yet economic
activity, or systems of such, had existed for millennia. Nowadays we treat
economics like a science, when many of us know otherwise, but it is
well-grounded in theory.
Similarly, the first book of the bible, Genesis, contains the first known
genealogies (or did I miss something). Presumably then, genealogies had some
importance before the first written version, otherwise why their sudden
appearance in Genesis? What were their standards? Their theory?
You've got the bens, abous, ibns, -sens, -doghtirs, patrynomics, ad nauseum,
up to the present. Clearly, you've got the idea of clan or tribe or family
stretching through time. Why track this? Political power?
Self-identification? Take it to it's most elementary form and it's a way of
defining who is on your side, by delineating who belongs to your group, and
who could be ostracized from that group for opposing you to the benefit of
an "outsider" interest. Clan or tribe affiliation was the simplest building
block of society. Where did the whole idea of traitors, or belonging, come
from? Why are clans, tribes or nationalities important to history?
Some Chinese families have documented genealogies that easily stretch back
over a thousand years. That's important if ancestor-worship is part of your
culture. What was their "theory"? What were their "standards"? Do they have
to revise them now if someone comes up with a new "theory"?
In a more refined or rarified version, genealogy was the basis for dynastic
succession. What was the theory then? Well, death to the unfaithful brides
and witnesses required for royal births.
This was a deadly serious business. Wars were fought over succession issues.
And if you weren't royalty, why go through the trouble of tracking more than
a few generations?
So now we have to codify what we have been doing for thousands of years or
no one will take us seriously? Seems to me that that is not a failing of
genealogy. Just the result of better record-keeping that allows us, later,
to recreate associations that could have been recorded contemporaneously.
Genealogy is so embedded in every thing else that people look at, that they
take it for granted.
|RE: [APG] Genealogical Theory (inc. Schools, Academics, etc.) by "James Brady" <>|