Here are some thoughts that I found quite illuminating, from a source that was more than surprising – A Theological Book.
The book is called:- ‘Why Study The Past?’ The Quest For The Historical Church.
It is a work based upon the Sarum Theological Lectures, given at Salisbury Cathedral in 2003.
“History is a set of stories we tell in order to understand better who we are and the world we’re now in…. We start telling the story to get a better definition of who we are or of what the subject is that we’re describing: history helps us to define things…. Good history makes us think again about the definition of things we thought we understood pretty well, because it engages not just with what is familiar but with what is strange. It recognises that “the past is a foreign country” as well as being our past”