In many ways, the translation of tyche as “fate” represents Thucydides’ own struggle: an attempt to author a history that seeks to base itself on cause/effect relationships while retaining a need to explicate events that defy explanation. The tension when Thucydides explains that Pericles was the most intelligent man of the age, but still dies due to the plague, is palpable. Intelligence (and everything else) proved ineffective at saving Athens and its leader (History 2.53.4). Despite the fact that Thucydides recognized that there was an area of life that evaded prediction by normal methods, he still denies that tyche – fate – ruled history, instead agreeing with Pericles\’ statement that intelligence and planning would allow man to “endure with resignation what the gods send, and to face one’s enemies with courage. This was the old Athenian way: do not let any act of yours prevent it from being so” (2.64.1–2. Trans. Rex Warner). In this regard [the author of Chronicles] could not be more opposed.
As I\’ve mentioned before, my thesis explores the possibility that Chronicles was written in the cultural and literary milieu of Hellenistic historiography, rather than Judean historiography. My method was to analyze the major themes and concepts of Thucydides and then see if those same \”markers\” appeared in the Chronicler (but not Samuel-Kings). One of my themes, then, is the concept of the role of the superhuman in human affairs, or, as Thucydides labels it, tyche vs. techne/gnome.
I\’m considering whether or not to submit that aspect of my research to the CSBS Historiography Seminar, but have never submitted either an article or paper proposal before, and will need to do some more research (quickly!) before I decide either way.
Have any of you had experience in submitting paper proposals or articles and care to share your experiences, advice, or horror stories with the rest of us?