Wonderful weasel work there, but hardly convincing. J. B. Bury, when commencing his tenure as Regius professor of history at Cambridge said: "History is a science, no less and no more." I have never agreed with that, it's utter nonsense. History is a rhetorical exercise, involving forensic investigation, much as a district attorney, or a Queen's counsel supposedly investigates an allegation of crime before proceeding to a prosecution. The historian may rely, and in fact, had better rely, on other disciplines, especially in the sciences--just as a prosecutor or a defense attorney will rely on expert witnesses. But that doesn't make an historian a scientist, nor history a science. Just as the prosecutor or defense attorney intends to convince a judge or a jury of the rectitude of his position, so an historian hopes to convince the reader--the more so if he is an academic intending to make a reputation with other academics.
Whether or not Henry was really
married to Anne Boleyn, or rather, arguing the point, were an exercise in futility. To the extent that he was the self-declared head of the Church of England, his supporters could claim he was. Furthermore, there would be no more of hypocrisy in the claim than that exhibited by his detractors. Marriage, especially in the bejeweled classes, is an institution to secure and preserve rights in property. When King Louis and the Duke of Aquitaine married off his daughter Eleanor to the Dauphin, it required a papal dispensation because of consanguinity. When they had grown heartily sick and tired of one another, and she had given him no male heirs, the then Pope obligingly annulled the marriage--the grounds? Consanguinity. Thereafter, she married Henry Plantagenet, soon to be King Henry II of England. As she was a closer cousin to him than she had been to Louis of France, they required a papal dispensation, which was cheerfully given. (No money changed hands . . . no, no really . . . i swear to god!)
A genuine historian would have little interest in the question of whether or not Henry was really
married to Anne--it's the kind of thing amateurs would argue about. It is not relevant, either, because what was important was that he claimed to be, and put away his former wife Catherine. (Henry was cleverer than other people in such situations--as Catherine had been married to his elder brother Arthur, who died before Henry VII, poor sod, Henry claimed that it was a violation of a biblical injunction to have married her.)
I don't sweat the small **** when it comes to history, to use a crude but wonderfully descriptive phrase from the American language.
By the way, that ought to read Heisenberg's problem with the description of electrons as a part of reality. It's amazingly hilarious how you deny everyone else's descriptions of reality, while treating your dogma as though it were self-evident truth.