Pursuing the Study of History with Chastity?

Here is a fascinating quote from the Puritan historian Patrick Collinson: “History fails to impress or inspire me. I refer you to a quotation from Lord Acton, used as a motto prefacing The Elizabethan Puritan Movement: ‘I think our studies ought to be all but purposeless. They want to be pursued with chastity, like mathematics.’ ”

It is taken from an interview on The Conventicle website. Fascinating that there were no comments on the interview or this particular statement. It surely cuts against the grain of much of my own thinking about history! To be sure, there must be a deadly seriousness with regard to accuracy--but to admit no inspiration from the past or purpose in studying it strikes me as ultimately self-defeating as an historian.