JACK AMARIGLIO and BRUCE NORTON
History and Theory 30 (February 1991), 37-55
This article evaluates the centrality of class in the "social interpretation" of the French Revolution put forward by George Lefebvre, Albert Soboul, and others. The social interpreters introduce an admirable complexity into their explanations of the causes and dynamics of the Revolution, but this complexity stems from their use of loose, multiple, and often contradictory notions of class influenced partly by Joseph Barnave's "stage theory" of pre-Revolutionary France and by "vulgar Marxism." These notions contrast with the concept of class - surplus-labor extraction - developed in the three volumes of Marx's Capital, and they also are the focus of criticisms advanced by revisionist historians such as Alfred Cobban and Franqois Furet. While the revisionists' criticisms are often justified and provide useful theoretical directions, the social interpreters' focus on class can be preserved by using this alternative concept. Using this concept can consistently convey the many class divisions in pre-Revolutionary France and the multiple class positions historical agents simultaneously occupied before, during, and after the Revolution.
F. R. ANKERSMIT
History and Theory 27 (October 1988), 205-228
The vocabulary of representation is better suited to an understanding of historiography than the vocabularies of description and interpretation. Since both art and historiography represent the world, they are closer to science than are criticism and the history of art because the interpretation of meaning is the specialty of the latter two fields. Historiography is less secure in its attempt to represent the world than art is; historiography is more artificial, more an expression of cultural codes than art itself. Historiography is a suitable paradigm for studying certain philosophical problems, particularly epistemology, or codified representation. Representation always requires the presence of two sets of non-referential logical dummies; disturbing the symmetry between these logical dummies gives rise to the position of realism and idealism. Epistemology is strongly inclined to disturb this symmetry. The parallels between recent developments in art and those in historiography demonstrate how much historiography is part of the contemporary cultural world. The deficiencies of modern philosophy of history can largely be explained by its tendency to neglect the cultural significance of the writing of history.
F. R. ANKERSMIT
History and Theory 28 (May 1989), 137-153
We no longer have any texts, any past, but just interpretations of them. The evident multi -interpretability of a text causes it gradually to lose its capacity to function as arbiter in the historical debate. It is necessary to define a new link with the past based on a complete and honest recognition of the position in which we now see ourselves placed as historians. In recent years, many people have observed our changed attitude towards the phenomenon of information. For postmodernism, science and information are independent objects of study which obey their own laws. Language and art are not situated opposite reality but are themselves a pseudo-reality and are therefore situated within reality. Because of the relation between the historiographical view and the language used by the historian to express his view - a relation which nowhere intersects the domain of the past -historiography possesses the same opacity and intensional dimension as art. The essence of postmodernism is precisely that we should avoid pointing out essentialist patterns in the past. There is reason to assume that our relation to the past and our insight into it will in future be of a metaphorical nature rather than a literal one.
F. R. ANKERSMIT
History and Theory 29 (October 1990), 275-296
That narrative language has the ontological status of being an object; that it is opaque; that it is self-referential; that it is intentional and, hence, intrinsically aestheticist; that the narrative meaning of an (historical) text is undecidable in an important sense of that word and even bears the marks of self-contradiction; that narrative meaning can only be identified in the presence of other meaning (inter-textuality); that as far as narrative meaning is concerned the text refers, but not to a reality outside itself; that criteria of truth and falsity do not apply to historical representations of the past; that we can only properly speak of causes and effects at the level of the statement; that narrative language is metaphorical (tropological) and as such embodies a proposal for how we should see the past; that narrative representations of the past have a tendency to disintegrate; all these postmodernist claims can be given a formal or even "modernist" justification if we are prepared to develop a philosophical logic suitable for dealing with the narrative substance.
History and Theory 26, Beiheft (December 1987), 47-67
Goya's and Manet's painted images, and Jean Renoir's cinematic image of historical executions have the power under the ideology of the image to reveal the truth of a moment outside of historical narrative. At the same time, these images are pulled back into the narrative from which they have been removed. The works of these three artists can be used to trace changes in the relationship of the image to historical narrative and its connection to photography and cinema. Goya, working in the early nineteenth century, uses the power of the scopic drive in a strategy which can be called the "witness effect." He deploys the traditional codes of post- Renaissance art in his composition, leading to a detemporalization of his image. Fifty years later, Manet's scene of execution includes an element outside the domain of codes, an element not symbolic, but indexical-the smoke coming out of the soldiers'gun barrels. The conception of the smoke as a sign of actuality is made possible by the invention of photography, which asks of the historical narrative, "Could such a fact, as it is narrated, have been photographed?" The third scene of execution, a still from a history film, is in a state of narrative nonexistence. The execution will be thwarted as the film continues. Renoir accommodates the historical imagination through allowing the image to assert both its presence and its absence. He articulates the gap between the reality and theatricality of visual representations of history.
History and Theory 27 (February 1988), 14-29
There is a strongly entrenched ambiguity in Hegel's philosophy between two opposed ways of describing the End, or "completion" of history: the "absolutist" and the "epochal" readings. Either Hegel's eschatological vision is of a completely final End, where no further progress in history or knowledge is possible, or it is an epochal conception, where the completion he speaks of is the fulfillment of an historical epoch. Passages in Hegel's texts may be found to support either of these alternatives. A non-absolutist reading of Hegel's philosophy is shown to be preferable through a consideration of 1) his unorthodoxly historical interpretation of the Christian eschatological End, to which he lends great importance; 2) the implication that if Christianity were to usher in a radical completion of history and time, spirit would cease to be spirit and God would cease to be God, since for Hegel God is irreducibly the logos, or Word, or spirit; and 3) a closer look at Hegel's conception of the "new world," which shows the paralyzing sacrifice of the dialectical soul necessary to an absolutist reading of Hegel's philosophy. Any attempt to harmonize the absolutist and epochal readings must inevitably fall into confusion.
History and Theory 27 (December 1988), Bei. 27, 78-102
Jewish historiographical production of the Renaissance and Baroque periods was in fact the expression of the unsuccessful attempt by a handful of individuals to make sense of Jewish history as a living history in diaspora conditions. Their failure was the inevitable result of the essential incompatibility of the subject matter of history, in those days conceived mainly as political and military narrative, and the destiny of their people the world over. Jewish historiographic output can be seen as part of the Jewish endeavor to redefine Jewish identity at the dawn of the modern era. However, the time had not yet come for a "New History" among both Jews and non-Jews -attempted in particular by Joseph ha-Cohen, David Ganz, and most perhaps most successfully by Azariah de Rossi-which might have provided a possible answer to the crisis of Renaissance historiography.
G. W. BOWERSOCK
History and Theory 30 (December 1991), Beiheft 30, 27-36
The concept of the person provides a convenient point of entry into a nexus of problems that much engaged Arnaldo Momigliano during his final three years. The closer one looks at Momigliano's papers on the person between 1985 and 1987, the more the disparate elements that he emphasized there can be seen to have a common core. Biography and autobiography, race and religion, traditional Judaism, and apocalyptic literature -which he introduced in the discussion of Judaism and biography in the Graeco-Roman period - all point in one direction, that is to Momigliano himself. As he had suggested in his first paper on Marcel Mauss, the quest for the person led directly to a quest for self- knowledge as reflected in autobiographical texts. The presence of Momigliano's own person in his discussion of the person illustrates admirably the views that he expounded. The link that Momigliano forged between Judaism and biography (and autobiography), for example, represented simultaneously a sense that there was a parallel between rabbinic interpretations of personal character and Greek ones, and his own private preoccupations with Judaism. From biography and autobiography by way of the person Momigliano reached what was for him the ultimate person: himself.
A. A. VAN DEN BRAEMBUSSCHE
History and Theory 28 (February 1989), 1-24
What is the relevance of an analytical philosophy of history to the practice of history? There are four fundamental criticisms of the existing analytical philosophy: analytical philosophers have concentrated on old, dualistic traditions of history; they have not provided sufficient empirical validation for their explanatory theories; they have paid little attention to the preliminary operations necessary to the writing of historical explanation; and they have ignored important stages of growth within the study of history. These are criticisms of the existing apragmatic philosophies of history, which lack a necessary empirical basis and become static, tied to one research tradition within historical scholarship. A pragmatic philosophy of history would focus on the growth of historical scholarship. The "History of Society," a name for the global approach to history, operates under the rules of comparative history. In the framework of a typology of the comparative method, types of difference and contrast refer back to the dominating types of macrocausality, generality, and inclusion. The logic of historical explanations is greatly determined by the choice of a particular type of comparative history. A pragmatic analysis demonstrates that a plurality of shades of meaning are possible in historical explanation, and that the traditional apragmatic dualist theory of a tension between the global and particular provides insufficient description.
History and Theory 29 (May 1990), 179-189
What is startling about the debate that emerged between Ernst Nolte and Jiirgen Habermas with the Historikerstreit of West Germany in the summer of 1986 is not just the two scholars' sometimes fervent opposition to each other, but the similarity of their arguments. While Nolte argues for a new sobriety and matter-of-factness in dealing with history and Habermas for an engaged, critical history leading to a "postconventional," postnational identity, both are in agreement in their implicit assumption about the necessary role of history/historiography in politics as an ideological provider of meaning, a Sinnstifter, and both sides see the political present as intimately connected with the interpretation of the past. What is surprising also is the apparent wish on both sides to ignore the historical precedents for the debate: the concept of Sonderweg, or German historical uniqueness, and the idea of history as the privileged location for the Kulturnation of Germany. The debate about German history in a Federal Republic newly conscious of its own strength is only just beginning.
History and Theory 29 (October 1990), 297-320
There are a variety of interpretations of Manet's Un Bar auxFolies Bergères, but there is no genuinely neutral standpoint from which to judge their seemingly opposed accounts. T. J. Clark's analysis involves placing the work in the context of critical commentary by the artist's contemporaries, and examining the exact place and role of the mirror. Just as Manet painted two versions of the picture, so Clark has published two analyses of it; and just as we can ask whether the artist thus resolved the ambiguities of his first image, so an analogous question can be asked about Clark's commentaries. When we have two such pictures or texts, how do we understand their relationship? Perhaps the best way is to find a further commentary. A Lacanian interpretation is proposed. We may see in the picture a triangular structure of perception; between the gaze and the subject stands the screen on which the image is cast. This view, even more speculative than Clark's, offers a new suggestive way of grasping the relation between picture and texts interpreting it.
History and Theory 26 (May 1987), 150-165
The existence of conflicting interpretations in literature, history, and art history casts doubt on the ability of any interpretation to be true to the facts. The role of the art historian is complicated by this reconsideration of what is valuable in interpretation. Progress in the history of art is difficult to ascertain. The scope and diversity of twentieth-century criticism of Piero della Francesca's Renaissance frescoes is difficult to compare to his less extensive Renaissance criticism by Vasari. While the antirelativist would be comfortable setting individual interpretations against a set of ahistorical standards, the relativist avoids evaluating differing interpretations as more or less valuable. Both relativism and antirelativism steer evaluations away from the notion of truth in interpretation. The marginalization of truth is furthered by the lack of "facts" in art. The flexibility of the data in art history makes multiple interpretations unavoidable. Only by acknowledging the inevitable coupling of form with content and the meaninglessness of searching for truth outside of the limiting structures of form, can truthful representations occur in pictures and in narratives.
History and Theory 27 (October 1988), 229-240
In the writings of Husserl one can uncover what could be labeled a "critical" philosophy of history, as well as what some scholars have deemed a "speculative" philosophy of history. Concerning the former, Husserl offers three criticisms of historicism: the incapability of historicism to establish that any particular theory is false, the impossibility of demonstrating inductively that there are no absolute truths, and the paradox of the claim that there are no absolute truths, for it rests on an assumption of apodicticity. However, Husserl's own notion of the historical character of the life-world seems vulnerable to the assertion that it falls into an historicist position. His defense relies on the third of the above criticisms: that historicism should recognize its own fundamental assumption of apodicticity. Regarding a "speculative" philosophy of history, if Husserl demonstrates one, it is of a very limited sort, and it relies on his reading of the history of philosophy.
History and Theory 27 (December 1988), Bei. 27, 40-55
In medieval Jewish perception and representation of self and other there was a propensity toward viewing current happenings through the prism of the past. The general human inclination toward patterning, acting in combination with a strong Jewish sense of historic continuum, produced a pronounced tendency toward archetypical representation, such as that found in rabbinic literature and synagogue liturgy, as well as in the chronicles penned in the wake of the crusader assaults of 1096. At- the same time, a host of specific needs and a similarly broad human inclination towards particularity engendered perceptions and descriptions that were remarkably free of stereotyping -perceptions and descriptions that are rooted in full awareness of the inevitable complexity of everyday human experience.
History and Theory 28 (May 1989), 198-214
Karl Lamprecht's late nineteenth-century work, Deutsche Geschichte, illustrates that the specific intellectual positions of an historian can be fitted into a framework which takes shape in response to traumas the historian experiences as a child. Throughout his youth, Lamprecht's father compared Karl to his dead brother. The serious narcissistic injury which Lamprecht suffered as a result of this treatment led directly to his adult academic habits. Lamprecht's scholarship was shaped by his habits, acquired in childhood, of venturing out beyond established bounds and appropriating through collecting. Lamprecht's work, ostensibly discussing the history of the selffulfillment of the German nation, was on some level an autobiographical work, a veiled statement of the historian's understanding of his own growth. Lamprecht's historical vision was determined, at least in part, by childhood circumstances which affected his assimilation of his professional training, as they encouraged in him a drive toward self-affirmation by means of challenging established bonds.
History and Theory 27 (December 1988), Bei. 27, 56-65
Poznanski's Mabo' 'al 'ofen ketibat ha-Qara'im 'et dibrey yemehem (An Introduction to Karaites'Manner of Writing in Their Own History) remains, despite its flaws, the only essay expressly devoted to Karaite historiography. al-Qirqisani's Kitab al-an war wal-maraqib (The Book of Lights and Watchtowers) is an historical piece of work viewed, by personal choice or owing to his own cultural development or under the historical circumstances, through theological glasses. al-Qirqisani was writing for the benefit of his own co-religionists in order to strengthen their faith. However limited his historical perspective may appear, it resolves into a public appreciation of the author's party, which is founded on a recovery of the past, and which aimed to strengthen the Selbstverstandnis of a Jewish minority. It would be difficult to describe such an approach otherwise than as an attempt to historicize the past. The Kitab al-anwar appears not only as a document of the literary history of Karaism, but as an original reading of the history of Judaism, the differentiation between secular and religious being only ours.
History and Theory 30 (December 1991), Bei. 30, 5-12
Unlike so many present-day historians, Momigliano did not proceed according to the absolute dogmas of a new program of historical scholarship, method, or perspective. Rather, his scholarly work grew organically from the connection between personal initiatives and existential forces. Momigliano's lifelong theme was the historical dimension of the contacts among cultures, religions, and civilization. He made no absolute claims for his own method. His scholarly works are briefly summarized, including: his concern with the problematic of Johann Gustav Droysen's position and of Hellenism in general; his general review of the Italian investigations into Greek history and examination of the structure of the history of the Imperium Romanum; his activities during the years at Oxford; and his inaugural lecture as professor of ancient history at University College London in 1952, as well as the wide variety of individual studies which followed. Momigliano welcomed the worldwide expansion of scholarly work in his field, but saw more clearly and earlier than others the dangers that grew with the field. In his view, only the safeguarding of the historical foundations and precise knowledge of the history of historiography solidly based on them would ensure the continuation of historical scholarship.
SHAYE J. D. COHEN
History and Theory 27 (December 1988), Bei. 27, 1-11
The Against Apion of Josephus is not only a defense of Judaism and Jewish history, but also an essay in historiography and historical criticism, as an outline of the work reveals. Josephus explains how history should and should not be written, and attempts to prove that certain versions of the past are truer than others. The Against Apion may attack the reliability and integrity of Greek historiography as being divisive and instable, but it is from the Greeks that Josephus learned the idea and techniques of historical criticism. He develops his argument by appeal to the superiority of Jewish history, canon, and community, but all these pro-Jewish and anti-Greek arguments have Greek origins. The Greek argument from consensus shaped the historical and theological argumentation of the Against Apion, and Greek precedents provided the basis for the ahistorical or antihistorical view of Judaism that Josephus proposes. Josephus' polemic proves weakest in his argument from canon, and in his contrasting Jewish stability with Greek restiveness.
History and Theory 29 (December 1990), Bei. 29, 14-20
There are strong grounds for believing that Collingwood cannot have been the author of "The Theory of History." First, the "Theory of History" is a typescript, and while Smith had papers typed up from time to time, Collingwood generally did not. Second, Collingwood, who kept good records, did not refer to "The Theory of History" either in his Autobiography or in his detailed "List of Work Done." Third, Collingwood always held the firm belief that good philosophy could only arise out of a reflection upon the philosopher's own personal experience, yet the work, written in 1914 when Collingwood was busy working on archaeological excavations at Ambleside, contains no archaeological references. Fourth, the philosophical content of "The Theory of History" is anachronistic for the young Collingwood writing in 1914, for at that time he had no marked interest in the philosophy of history. Fifth, the semi-colon, used quite frequently by Collingwood and indicating a genuine stylistic characteristic, is used at a much less frequent rate by the author of the "The Theory of History."
G. S. COUSE
History and Theory 29 (December 1990), Bei. 29, 57-77
The most searching elaboration of the detective image of the historian has come from the pen of R. G. Collingwood. His short detective story "Who Killed John Doe?" implied that, in spite of the often tentative nature of the question-answer process in a successful historical investigation, the pieces of the puzzle fit together and their coherence becomes self-evident. The predominance of physical evidence in Collingwood's detective story had its counterpart in his research on Hadrian's Wall. In examining the questions raised by his investigations, and distinguishing between direct and circumstantial evidence, Collingwood was able to formulate a comprehensive theory concerning the date of the Wall's construction, the purpose of the Wall, the date of the related turf wall at Birdoswald, the chronological position of the fourteen forts along the Wall, and the role and date of the Vallum following the Walls' course. The pattern of research into the mysteries of Hadrian's Wall has hardly conformed to the linear, step-by-step schema of Collingwood's logic of question and answer. As with much detective work, it has embodied its share of informed guesswork, mistaken inference, false leads, and fortuitous revelations.
NATALIE ZEMON DAVIS
History and Theory 27 (December 1988), Bei. 27, 103-118
European autobiography of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was fed particularly by the religious exploration of the self and the desire to tell about and place oneself within the web of one's family. Jewish autobiography has behind it these same impulses, though it is more likely to be an expansion of ethical teachings appended to a will than an elaboration from an account book. It also differs from Christian autobiography in lacking a definitive conversion. Rather the life is imbued with a cyclical sense of sin, of God's power and punishment, and of the unpredictable: the individual's life is a recapitulation of the history of the Jewish people. Leon Modena's Life of Judah is a combination of confession, lament, and self-celebration. It bears comparison to Girolamo Cardano's Book of My Life, for both men express pride in their fame and many books, despair about their sons, and admit to the vice of gambling. Cardano's glory and complaints delimited a secular sphere within the Christian universe of meaning, while Modena's were still closely tied to God's tangled relations with His chosen people. Further, the realm of the "secret" was defined differently by Christian and Jew. Christian writers usually assumed the inside/outside contrast to apply especially to the individual and that secrecy was bad but inevitable in a society of preferment. For Jewish writers the inside went beyond the individual and his or her family to the wider Jewish community. In that protected space and in the safe language of Hebrew, a range of situations and feelings could be explored with considerable frankness, the inner/outer contrast leading to surprising self-discovery.
WILLIAM H. DRAY
History and Theory 26 (May 1987), 133-149
J. H. Hexter, an American historian of early seventeenth-century history, terms himself whiggish and claims whiggishness is returning after the misguided popularity of Marxism. The distinction "whiggish" is more elusive than his claim suggests, and the accuracy of its application to Hexter's claim is unclear. Three characteristics commonly assigned to whig interpretation by its critics can be seen as reflections of broader, unresolved historical issues. These are: attention to political and constitutional issues; a tendency to refer to the present in interpreting the past; and a belief in inevitability. It is difficult to ascertain whether Hexter's attention to political matters is a result of his view of them as intrinsically important to historical inquiry or as particularly relevant to historical accounts of Stuart England. The charge of presentism cannot confidently be made against him, as he is not guilty of anything as crude as anachronism, and subtle presentism is neither avoidable nor necessarily reprehensible. Inevitabilism is not only difficult to define, it is not displayed by Hexter. If he displays the weaknesses of whiggishness it is only through implication, in the body of ideas underlying his text.
[A Review of Reviews]
History and Theory 26 (May 1987), 180-196
Eric Williams's Capitalism and Slavery is a classic in the sense that it irreversyibly altered our most basic way of looking at an historical event. Writing the book in 1944, Williams broke with the century of histories portraying the British abolition of slavery as a humanist event, a moral victory. His account of slavery in the British colonies was innovative in introducing the notion that economic, rather than moral, factors were decisive in the motivation and success of the abolitionists. The two farthest-reaching claims of Capitalism and Slavery are that British colonial slave production and the slave trade enabled the industrial revolution to take place in Britain, and that the abolition movement resulted solely from changes in the British imperial economy. Though few historians since Williams have agreed with him on the centrality of industrialization in the slave colonies and abolition, his work has resulted in the inclusion of economic factors in all recent accounts of slavery and its abolition. By writing a simplistic history with a global context, Williams made it impossible for subsequent historians to write about abolition as an isolated moral act of the British Empire.
History and Theory 28 (October 1989), 275-295
Historians Jules Michelet and Alphonse de Lamartine envisaged compassion and pity as vital forces that could shape history. They interpreted the outpouring of pity following the execution of Louis XVI as having a profound effect on French history in the nineteenth century. They both felt that, by killing the defenseless monarch, the Jacobins had awakened and unleashed tremendous sympathy that purified the monarchy in the public imagination, laying the psychological and moral groundwork for the Restoration. Surprisingly, they attributed the Restoration to Jacobin pitilessness. However, they also traced what was for them the real failure - the moral failure - of the Revolution to the Terror and to the Terror's initial crime and founding act, the regicide. Politically, Jacobin mercilessness served the royalist cause; morally, it destroyed the Revolution and discredited republican ideology for decades to come. But not only was pity central to Michelet's and Lamartine's visions of nineteenth-century history and concepts of revolutionary and political morality, it also extended to their attitudes toward historiography. They envisaged pity as the basis for historiography and as the fundamental moral mission for the historian.
W. JAN VAN DER DUSSEN
History and Theory 29 (December 1990), Bei. 29, 21-41
The idea of progress was lent much importance by Collingwood, but it is difficult to elucidate his views on the idea. Considering his views of other related concepts -change, development, and process-aids the understanding of his idea of progress. Collingwood's treatment of the concept of historical progress shows a lack of consistency, when he denies on the one hand that ways of life can be grasped, while on the other he believes that historical periods may be understood. Collingwood denies the possibility that historical periods can be compared, for each period is characterized and judged in terms of its own problems and the solutions it find's for them. It is possible to distinguish four different positions in Collingwood's attitude to the concept of progress: a) It is dependent on a point of view; b) It is meaningless when used in the realms of art, happiness, and morality; c) It is meaningful when applied to the identity of a certain problem; d) It is necessary in solving practical and theoretical problems.
History and Theory 30 (May 1991), 153-179
Critics have wrongly dismissed Marx's theory as an archaic "essentialist" approach to history due to the inadequate understanding of the intentionally tentative character of Marx's theoretical works, the accompanying epistemological demand for historical analysis, the dialectical tension between theory and empirical analysis and, therefore, of Marx's open- ended definition of historical knowledge. Through a reconstruction of Marx's project it becomes clear that because Marx's materialist conception of history and his view that abstract representation represents not a universal philosophy of history, but rather elements of an epistemologically modest materialist science of history, his project contains an inbuilt epistemological demand for continued historical analyses as the praxis of that science. Such analyses are necessary elements of the process of moving beyond the abstract representation of the mode of production. They are crucial both to correct the conceptual presentation itself, and to enlarge the scope of the conception from the mode of production to the totality of bourgeois society.
History and Theory 28 (May 1989), 173-197
A so-called revision of the history of World War 11, which began shortly after the war, was popularized in France in the 1980s through the progressively combined action of extreme-right and former ultra-left militants. This "revision," actually a negation of the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews, has focused on what were precisely the means of this mass murder, that is, the gas chambers. Using traditional patterns of antiSemitism, this peculiar rewriting of history claims that the genocide never took place and was in fact a hoax, built up by an international Jewish plot, to extort gigantic amounts of money from the Germans as reparations. In today's France, where racism and exclusion are strongly encouraged by a growing extreme right, and where anti-Semitism progressively comes out of the silence it has been forced to keep since 1945, such a "revisionist" view could gain a certain popularity.
History and Theory 30 (December 1991), Bei. 30, 37-48
De Martino offered Momigliano an opportunity to reflect on his own analogous yet different experience. The connection between the study of prehistory and the threat of the end of the world, and more generally, the idea that we need to respond to today's crisis by enlarging historical research to unknown and unpredictable phenomena might lead us to conclude that, at least momentarily, Momigliano's and De Martino's paths had touched. In reality, however, as Momigliano lucidly saw, theirs were parallel paths that could never meet. Studies that culminated in Il Mondo Magico had carried De Martino, albeit temporarily, outside Croceanism, and toward a more radical historicism immune from ethnocentric limitations, in particular with regard to Cassirer's works. Momigliano's detachment from Croceanism can be located between two divergent statements: that the sun had set on the idea of antiquitates, while also looking forward to the affirmation of a new antiquarianism under the guise of sociology or anthropology. It became increasingly clear as the years passed that for Momigliano all forms of historicism were unacceptable because they were threatened by relativism.
LEON J. GOLDSTEIN
History and Theory 29 (December 1990), Bei. 29, 42-50
The principle which guides the construction of Collingwood's The Idea of History, with the exclusion of the "Epilogomena," is an attempt to trace the stages through which the concept of history expresses itself as a scale of forms. Collingwood has important things to say in An Essay on Philosophical Method about concepts of certain sorts, but is mislead in his attempt to distinguish philosophical from non- philosophical concepts, owing to the positivist strictures current to the time, and his desire to protect philosophy and its concepts. Collingwood would like to offer in The Idea of History an account of the development of the idea of history-as- research, but cannot because he lived before the material needed for such an exposition to be possible was available. Had Collingwood been more sensitive to the way in which the contingent pushes the development of concepts along and leads to the reshaping of their generic essence, he might have come to see that the sort of concept he actually discusses in An Essay on Philosophical Method is not the only kind of concept in which the variable changes, and might have recognized that the idea of history is itself a scale of forms.
DAVID M. HALPERIN
History and Theory 28 (October 1989), 257-274
Sexuality is a cultural production: it represents the appropriation of the human body and of its physiological capacities by an ideological discourse. Foucault made sexuality into a field of historical investigation. The next project is to fill in the outlines of the picture he has sketched. The study of classical antiquity has a special role to play in this historical enterprise, in that it exposes sexuality, as a domain of knowledge, power, and personal experience, as a uniquely modern production. Neither the isolation of sexuality as an autonomous entity nor the use of sexuality to individuate human beings can be exampled in Greek antiquity. The history of sexuality therefore cannot posit "sexuality" as a stable object of historical knowledge but must inquire into the various ways that sexual experience is constituted in society. The answer to the question "is there a history of sexuality" is yes, but only a relatively recent one.
THOMAS L. HASKELL
History and Theory 29 (May 1990), 129-157
Objectivity can be effectively described as striving for detachment -a capacity to achieve some distance from one's own spontaneous perceptions and convictions, to experimentally adopt perspectives that do not come naturally. Novick's treatment of objectivity satisfies the requirements of objectivity, while on a rhetorical level he rejects the notion as unrealistic. Detachment enables an intellectual, specifically an historian, to operate with self-reflexivity and simultaneously socializes him or her. The ultimate power in a community of detached intellectuals striving for objectivity is a powerful argument. Under Novick's notion of objectivity, the conflict for historians between scholarly integrity and political alliance is unresolvable. Removing neutrality from the definition of objectivity resolves this conflict, enabling historians to strive for detachment and fairness, not disengagement from life. Postmodern disclaimers, such as Novick's on the futility of objectivity, fail, through being overly dismissive, to help us establish criteria for evaluating individual historical accounts. Having objectivity as a goal enables us to establish those criteria.
SAMUEL P. HAYS
History and Theory 26 (February 1987), 15-31
Five concepts are presented which together form elements of a theoretical framework for American history: 1) persistent inequality from one stage of history to another under the impact of massive transforming social and political influences; 2) systematization, referring to the way in which people sought to organize institutions in both private and public affairs so as to integrate people and resources into ever larger systems of human action; 3) differentiation, which is the realm of human identity and meaning, of understanding personal possibilities and limitations, and of choosing whether one seeks to be similar to or different from others; 4) interactions among levels of scale, of which the aspects of perception, personal networks, and institutions are especially important; and 5) innovation and response, or change and response to change. Each concept is well rooted in recently accumulated evidence. Together they constitute useful building blocks of theory which enable one to integrate the vast and often diffuse outpouring of literature in both social and political history.
JOHN L. HERKLESS
History and Theory 26 (May 1987), 166-179
Idealism, and the neo-idealism of the turn of the century which was an extension as well as a revival of idealism, holds that it is impossible to know whether reality exists outside the mind. Rather, objects of perception are formed by the perceiving mind. The sense made out of these objects is thus subject to changes in that perceiving mind. Positivist liberalism conversely asserts that fixed, rational laws govern existence. German society at the end of the nineteenth century was so ridden with change that the static positivism of the National Liberals was rejected by German historians, led by Max Lenz in the 1880s, and replaced by a return to the idealism of Ranke. The neo-idealists looked for dual causalities, studying the interaction of economics and politics and holding that history was engaged in change as well as recording it. Two theories resulted from German idealism, both capable of accounting for changes in institutional frameworks over time: Marxism and the German historical school of economics, the Kathedersozialisten.
MICHAEL E. HOBART History and Theory 28 (February 1989), 43-58
There is a paradox, or self-defeating supposition in the core of constructionism, for it would appear that any attempt to resolve a dispute in historical interpretation within a convention of self-contained criteria of confirmation by appealing to justificatory criteria outside the convention -to wit, the theory of constructionism -is self-defeating. Through the theoretical consideration of historians isolated in a vat, following Hilary Putnam's metaphor, it becomes clear that the vat language of the historians does not have the possibility of referring, intrinsically or extrinsically, to anything external. The implications of the vat metaphor for an understanding of historical inquiry are: 1) we need to recognize and insist upon different levels of abstraction both in historical writing and in the justification of its claims; 2) applied to history, the set paradox reveals the need to recognize that at the most abstract level of consideration we encounter inescapable incoherence; and 3) we need to recognize that in some important sense reference must be completed in the world, regardless of the problems in characterizing this sense philosophically.
PATRICK H. HUTTON
History and Theory 30 (February 1991), 56-69
The works of three well-remembered French historians- Jules Michelet, Alphonse Aulard, and François Furet - raise the issue of memory's relationship to history, but each treats it in a different way. History for Michelet concerned the sustaining of tradition. His conceptions of the past grew directly out of a living tradition, from which he established comparatively little distance. For Aulard, history meant consecrating its events in the guise of science. History for Furet demanded the deconstruction of the commemorative forms in which the history of the Revolution had been enshrined. Today's historians may not wish to commemorate the past, but a historiography that dismisses the significance of a tradition of understanding the passions of the past is likely to lose its appeal to posterity. The writings emanating from this tradition hold great power to reveal the meaning the Revolution held for its participants. Overlooking the potency of these writings in order to underscore their power to shape the form of the Revolution's commemoration would be to deprive the event itself of enduring appeal.
GEORG G. IGGERS
History and Theory 28 (February 1989), 59-77
The sharp separation of Eastern, and particularly Soviet and GDR, scholarship from the West is in part owing to ideological self-isolation, and part due to lack of interest or unwillingness to accept this scholarship in the West - The institutional framework within which historical studies take place in the GDR has placed severe limits on diversity within the historical profession. The official theoretical basis of historiography is represented by dialectical materialism, as a theory of reality, and historical materialism, as the conception of historical development intertwined with it. The political historian is subject to much closer direction than in social or cultural history, while social history deals primarily with local or regional history, and has begun conducting empirical case studies. Interestingly, biographies have acquired a new significance as historical works in both the GDR and the Federal Republic. In dealing with the German past, there is a conscious attempt in the GDR, as there has been recently in the Federal Republic, to overcome the fixation on 1933 and to reestablish a sense of pride in the past. There has been a greater openness and commitment to understanding historical phenomena with the reevaluation of the course of German history.
History and Theory 29 (February 1990), 1-15
Blumenberg's rejection of Karl Lowith's secularization thesis, as presented in Lowith's The Legitimacy of the Modern Age, and Blumenberg's defense of an alternative theory of functional reoccupations raises questions about the kind of progress he finds operant in historiography and historical understanding. These questions are best addressed within the framework of his recent Work on Myth, which defines the legitimacy of an age or myth in terms of progressive adaptability rather than autonomy. Neither this work nor the study on legitimacy, however, succeeds in establishing a transcendental warrant for the historiographic deployment of categories of progress and novelty. Blumenberg would have us believe that historical understanding and action are functionally legitimated by defacto institutions, be they traditional authorities or rationally adaptive "instrumental" mechanisms, whose own normative, teleological legitimacy remains largely unquestioned. The rational subject of self-legislation who was originally constituted as an autonomous member of a community of ends has been replaced in his philosophy of history by an irrational subject of selfassertion, who can only be functionalized for the "arbitrarily chosen ends" of the system.
History and Theory 27 (December 1988), Bei. 27, 66-77
Investigation into the history of the Talmud was sparked by the Karaite rebellion against the authority of the Talmud at the beginning of the eighth century. The most influential work of Talmudic chronology is the Iggeret de-Rav Sherira Gaon ("The Letter of Rabbi Sherira Gaon"), composed in 986, which sought to explain how the Mishnah and the Talmud were compiled, and demonstrate the unbroken chain of the tradition. Maimonides gives a summary of the history of the tradition in his Commentary to the Mishnah. Although Maimonides' reconstruction is an artificial one, with no attempt to verify sources or test their reliability, he stated that the Babylonian Talmud was compiled about one hundred years after the Jerusalem (or Palestinian) Talmud; in cases of disagreement, therefore, the rulings of the Babylonian Talmud were the ones adopted by the post-Talmudic Halakhah. The French glossators, or Tosafists, argued that a law in the Talmud could be changed when the original circumstances in which it was promulgated were no longer evident. More objective, critical historical accounts have been given by more modern scholars, particularly Yon Tov Lippmann Heller, Jeheil Heilprin, and Hayyim Joseph David Agulai.
History and Theory 28 (February 1989), 25-42
In his philosophical history of nineteenth-century mathematics, Proofs and Persuasions: The Logic of Mathematical Discovery, Imre Lakatos asserts that mathematical criticism was the driving force in the growth of mathematical knowledge during the nineteenth century, and provided the impetus for some of the deepest conceptual reformulations of the century. The philosophy of mathematics represented by Proofs and Refutations also presents a rich analysis of how mathematics can be thought of as an essentially historical discipline. Despite protestations by Lakatos that he completely discarded Hegel when he discovered the work of Karl Popper, his philosophy of error closely resembles Hegel's in the Phenomenology of Spirit. According to Lakatos, the impact of proofs and refutations on naive concepts is to erase them completely and replace them by proof-generated concepts. His historical point about proofs and refutations is that this pattern in the growth of mathematical knowledge is a relatively recent innovation. Hegel's and Lakatos' shared vision of theoretical knowledge is that rather than being the inspired work of timeless, totally subjective, intellectual intuition (itself an oxymoron), it is, more often than not, mediated by a lengthy history of speculation and failure.
DONALD R. KELLEY
History and Theory 26 (October 1987), 319-338
Romantic, po st- Revolutionary French historiography can be described as "ancient verses on new ideas." The "new history" of this period, with its antiquarian nature, shared more with its predecessors than its practitioners acknowledged. Historical and legal scholars of the Restoration belonged to a long intellectual tradition of a shared hermeneutical "community of interpretation," based on common origins, though not necessarily goals. A belief in the historical grounding of knowledge and judgment united Restoration historians and legal scholars to their predecessors. Debate over the origin of private property, the central human right advanced in the Napoleonic Code, united the two sorts of scholars, who examined the origins of the right of private property in the context of the history of laws, both Germanic and Roman. The establishment of private property proves to rest on the logic of feudalism, ironically overthrown in the Revolution while providing continuity in historiography before and after.
History and Theory 26 (December 1987), Bei. 26, 1-29
Two new ways of looking at forms of knowledge were practiced in France roughly between 1965 and 1985. The postwar Annales school of history broke from "narrative" historical accounts to "nonnarrative" accountssynchronic, quantitative accounts not in story form. At the same time, the structuralists (eventually replaced by the poststructuralists) made history a special target as they began questioning the primacy and security of meaning and the strategies for constructing meaning in narratives. If structuralism and its aftermath is to be said to have had an effect on history, it would be the reinvention of reading, conceiving reading as a more complex and elusive process than it formerly had been, and exposing more and more of the accepted, fundamental components of human life as constructions. Three writers, Paul Ricoeur, F. R. Ankersmit, and Hayden White, recognize narrativity as a worldview, rejecting the Annales school distinction between narrative and nonnarrative history. These three see story history as a genre. They agree with the poststructuralists on the allegorical nature of history, but their arguments are, unconventionally, morally based. Their discussions of the constructions of narratives serve less to undermine history than to reground it as a humane discourse.
MICHAEL A. KISSELL
History and Theory 29 (December 1990), Bei. 29, 51-56
There are certain leading ideas in the philosophy of Collingwood which can be unmistakably identified, despite the ambiguities and inconsistencies found in his thought. One such idea is progressive traditionalism, which has as a key component the idea of cumulative change, explained by Collingwood in the notion of "scale of forms" elaborated in An Essay on Philosophical Method. Progressive traditionalism sprang from the dialectic between philosophy, dealing with the eternal and immutable, and history, meaning change. Philosophy somehow deals with thought and thought is progressive by its very nature, while tradition is the vehicle of cumulative change. The progress of philosophy lies in the increasing degrees of understanding of the fate of absolute presuppositions and of the prospects of human civilization; the absolute presuppositions lying at the foundation of human civilization are the basic elements of tradition. Return to healthy traditions is one of the elements of Gorbachev's "new thinking," which reinforces the necessity of conserving something of the old which is living in order to create more satisfying social conditions.
DAVID F. LINDENFELD
History and Theory 27 (February 1988), 30-50
In response to the unsettled state of modern intellectual history, a model is offered for categorizing its subject matter. Two challenges to intellectual history are first examined: the relation of intellectual to social history and the relation of intellectual history to other disciplines which purport to deal with thought. The model proposed breaks down the "ideas" of intellectual historians into two sorts: 1) systems, complex bodies of thought related in a coherent fashion; and 2) embodiments, a way of fixating or condensing a complex of meanings into a single expression. Each entails a distinct mode of communication, the former by processes of education or socialization, the latter by single symbols or slogans. The distinction between systems and embodiments is clarified by comparison to the abstract-concrete and the discursive-mythical thought distinctions. The "ideas" of intellectual history should ideally include both systems and embodiments as their components, as in the case of the Lutheran Reformation and the French Revolution. By showing their relation to other disciplines, these distinctions can be seen to demarcate the space in which intellectual history can operate.
History and Theory 30 (May 1991), 180-219
There should not be a material/mental methodological division in the frameworks used by social historians, but rather, a structure/action heuristic division. A survey of methodological approaches to social history becomes possible after clearing confusion between philosophical questions, methodological questions, and theories, as well as presenting a preliminary discussion of philosophical issues pertaining to the study of social history. The five general categories of approaches according to their philosophical foundations are: the empiricist and individualist, the systemic- functionalist, the interpretist, the structuralist and poststructuralist, and relational structurist. All those approaches that adopt methodological structurism are able to overcome fundamental epistemological problems in explaining social history; and so they are able to support a sufficiently powerful methodology for studying how action and structure causally interrelate over time. Social history gains an increasing degree of plausibility and can be labelled "scientific" when it is based on a realist ontology of structures and a commitment to discovering the complex, multileveled, structural reality of the world.
History and Theory 28 (October 1989), 296-325
The late Maurice Mandelbaum was one of the most consistent and determined defenders of philosophical and social realism and of what he called "methodological institutionalism." This can be seen as containing a theory of human agency and a theory of how the social world comes to be institutionally structured, or what can be called a "structurist" theory. Mandelbaurn has argued for the irreducibility of social concepts and the necessity of scientific social laws for social and historical explanation. Purpose and Necessity in Social Theory (1987) and the totality of Mandelbaum's work support the contention that in the task of developing substantive social explanations three basic issues are equally important: the problem of social reality and truth, the problem of social causation, and the problem of social change. Mandelbaum's concepts of behavior and institutions - their relative autonomy, symbiosis, and historicity -together provide the basis for a sociological structurism. Moreover, he provides powerful philosophical support from within the analytical tradition for a social theory that rejects atomism and empiricism and embraces the historical nature of society as both a real structure and an ongoing structuring process.
DONALD N. MCCLOSKEY
History and Theory 30 (February 1991), 21-36
There is a similarity between the most technical scientific reasoning and the most humanistic literary reasoning. While engineers and historians make use of both metaphors and stories, engineers specialize in metaphors, and historians in stories. Placing metaphor, or pure comparison, at one end of a scale and simply a listing of events, or pure story, at the other, it can be seen that what connects them is a theme. The theme providing the connecting link between poles for both the engineer and the historian is time. Themes in engineering that mention time are those titled differential equations. The differential equation is story-like because it speaks of time and therefore organizes experience in time, at least implicitly. Time- speaking themes shape the raw experience, as a story does when it is more than a mere unthematized chronicle. The chaotic nature of non-linear differential equations parallels the chaotic nature of history in that large results need not have large causes. Narration becomes difficult in chaotic systems because the knowledge of initial conditions is rarely sufficiently detailed to allow for accurate explanation or prediction for either engineers or historians.
C. BEHAN MCCULLAGH
History and Theory 30 (October 1991), 302-323
Those who doubt the objectivity of historical interpretations of the meaning of texts either ignore the quite stringent conventional criteria by which such interpretations are justified, as Jacques Derrida did, or they overlook the cognitive significance of those criteria, as Hans-Georg Gadamer did. Historical interpretations of the meaning of old texts which satisfy five presented criteria are objective both in the sense of being rationally defensible and in the sense of being correct. The five criteria are that the interpretation (1) does not violate any of the semantic and syntactic rules of the language in which it is written; (2) resolves any obscurities of reference and ambiguities of meaning arising from these rules; (3) provides a coherent body of information; (4) performs the first three functions to a much greater degree than any other interpretation which the text warrants; and perhaps (5) convincingly explains away any failure to perform the first three functions. To arrive at an interpretation which satisfies these criteria, an interpreter first studies the literal meaning of the text, according to the rules of its language, and if need be, then examines the literary and the historical contexts in which the text was produced, and finally may even find it necessary to reconstruct the author's intention in writing it. Secondary interpretations of a text are preferred which colligate a large number of facts about the text, and give a fair representation of its meaning as a whole. Numerous examples both illustrate and confirm the theory presented.
C. BEHAN MCCULLAGH History and Theory 26 (December 1987), Bei. 26, 30-46
Recent studies of historical synthesis have denied the possibility of "truth" in historical narratives, which they state impose meaning on a series of events. An historian is, however, capable of writing a true history, true in the sense that his or her narrative provides a fair representation of its central subject. Descriptions represent the world when they give us an idea that resembles part of the world itself. A subject can be said to be fairly represented if an author follows certain procedures: events must be presented chronologically; the main changes that occurred in the subject must be described; there must not be descriptions or omissions which might give a misleading impression of the subject; and the subject should be explained at a consistent level of generality and with a consistent level of detail. An historian motivated by preconceptions rather than the desire to represent a subject fairly, will not write a true history. Preconceptions are not incompatible with writing true histories, however, as long as they are discarded when an historian learns that they are incompatible with a fair representation. Analysis can be supplementary to, but is never a substitute for, accurate historical representation of a subject.
History and Theory 29 (May 1990), 205-233
Two jarring results concerning the main theses of Georg Henrik von Wright's Explanation and Understanding are reached through an examination and criticism of his project. It is shown, contrary to his settled judgment both in EU and subsequently, that the schema of practical inference is a causal principle, and that it is nomological in character. But one feature of von Wright's overall analysis holds up and continues to show promise: his idea of understanding explanation. This idea combines the EU account of the schema and its instantiation with the notion of an intelligible connection of these instantiating elements with one another. Here the schema is deployed in conjunction with the test of intelligible connection as one of its conditions of application. The schema, so deployed, is revisable on the basis of experiences that do not conform to what we expect them to be when they are regimented in accordance with the model of understanding explanation; thus, even though the schema is not a general law, we have a basis for characterizing it as nomological, nonetheless.
History and Theory 26 (October 1987), 287-299
The current academic discipline of philosophy frequently emphasizes historical aspects of philosophy. Many writers claim that the history of philosophy is indispensable to philosophy. Of the three sorts of reasons for this indispensability - pragmatic, homely, and farfetched - only the third sort holds up. Even the homely reasons point only to the usefulness of the study of the history of philosophy to the practice of philosophy, not its indispensability. The main pragmatic reason for studying the history of philosophy is that most philosophical scholars are also studying it. This is not an enduring reason. The chief farfetched reason for studying philosophy historically involves seeing the philosophical activity as one possessing the characteristics of a self on which psychoanalysis can operate. Thus history serves to summon up "repressed" events in philosophy's past. The analogy here is strained and the goal obscure. Homely reasons are that history provides contemporary philosophers with role models and inspiration, as well as warnings of the pitfalls of trains of thought. The history of philosophy is not unimportant for philosophy, just overemphasized. The implications of this conclusion for the academic practice and teaching of philosophy is substantial.
MICHAEL A. MEYER
History and Theory 27 (December 1988), Bei. 27, 160-175
During the Enlightenment, Jews began to attribute major significance to history in general and to Jewish history in particular. The past was used, particularly by Marcus Fischer, to provide precedents for present-day in struction, and was employed, by Solomon Maimon, Peter Beer, and Abraham Geiger, for the sake of destroying encrusted contemporary norms by demonstrating their late importation into Jewish tradition. The emer gence of modern Jewish historiography was given further impetus by external factors: the increased prominence of general historical studies in Germany, which lent history its objective, rather than exemplary, tone while revising ideas of natural law and eternal truths; and the attention paid by non-Jewish historians, in particular Jacques Basnage and Hannah Adams, to Jewish history. Isaac Marcus Jost gave an account of the external history of the Jews, the shifting relations between the Jews and the governments under which they lived, and later focused on issues of Jewish religious and cultural history. Heinrich Graetz's history served to draw together and find roots for a broader political and spiritual Jewish identity, and used the Jewish past to regain a sense of Jewish separateness by revealing the separate historical path of the Jews.
History and Theory 27 (October 1988), 261-281
Since the end of the nineteenth century it has been known that the year 1000 passed without any particular notice in Europe; only one writer is known to have claimed that the reign of Christ would begin then, and there is no basis for tales of widespread public panic. Only around 1600 did it assume millenarian significance; it is thus a problem in modern, not medieval, historiography. The origin of the myth is Volume XI of the Annales ecclesiastici of Baronius (1605), elaborating on a reference by the Burgundian monk Raoul Glaber. Different passages of Glaber were cited, however: some authors referred to the alleged terror inspired by this year as an illustration of medieval mentalité; others saw in them a remote cause of the Crusades; still others (notably the French) believed that when the anticipated millennium failed to materialize, the result was a decisive change in medieval attitudes. Only in France was the myth of the year 1000 widespread, and only from 1830 to 1870. Michelet was its most important advocate, and it is related to his conception of the epoch-making nature of the French Revolutions of 1789 and especially 1830.
History and Theory 30 (December 1991), Bei. 30, 49-64
The impact on Momigliano of being an academic refugee of "the Bund" group at Oxford during the war was profound. It is this experience which turned him from the learned but orthodox Italian ancient historian into the European polymath, who took the whole classical tradition as his domain. A crucial turning-point for Momigliano was his decision to study the history of historiography. From 1951 Momigliano, as Professor of Ancient History at University College London, was a central figure in historical studies. Three grand themes had matured in his mind during his middle period in England: the history of late antiquity, the history of historiography, and the origins of Rome. The first two were to have great impact on English classical scholarship. In 1965 there began a series of seminars at the Warburg Institute in which Momigliano played a significant role, and which focused particularly on the relationship between ancient history and anthropology and the attempt to write a history of Greek biography. In studying Momigliano's life in England, the distinctive quality of his literary style and the continuities in his approach to history become especially clear.
History and Theory 30 (May 1991), 136-152
It is only in the recent past that we have begun to recognize that history forms a discourse of contemporary taste and judgment. It is the historical system itself that forms its events, not as a matter of mere consciousness, but as a Diktat of culture. The historian must serve the same role as the archaeologist: examining cultural artifacts as evidence for the working out of an older social order in detail. When relatively ordinary events are examined in Judaism, it becomes evident that they not only have no autonomous standing, but also that events constitute no species even within a genus, or historical order. In davar aher constructions, events are included in the same taxonomic compositions as names, places, and actions. An event becomes simply a component in a culture that combines facts into structures of its own design. "Event" has no meaning at all in Judaism, since Judaism forms culture through other than historical modes of organizing existence. Within the system and structure of Judaism, history forms no taxon, no happening is unique, and no event bears consequence.
JACOB NEUSNER History and Theory 27 (December 1988), Bei. 27, 12-39
Talmudic history, understood as how events are organized and narrated to teach, cannot be said to deal with great affairs; it simply tells what those responsible for compiling it thought about the world around them. But if manifest history is scarcely present, a rich and complex world of latent history does lie ready at hand. The Talmud and related literature contain two sorts of historical information: stories about events within an estate of clerks, and data on the debates of those who produced the Talmud. The authors of the Mishnah found no reason to narrate history because what was important in Israel's existence was sanctification, an ongoing process. Its framers recognized the pastness of the past and hence, by definition, laid out a conception of the past that constitutes an historical doctrine. The Talmud of the Land of Israel, spurred by the story of the suffering of Israel and efforts to explain the tragedy, moves toward an interest in the periodization of history and a willingness to include events of far greater diversity than the Mishnah. A teleology lacking all eschatological dimension - the Mishnah - here gives way to an explicitly messianic statement that the purpose of the law is to attain Israel's salvation -the Talmud of the Land of Israel.
History and Theory 27 (October 1988), 241-260
In the age of change in the institutional and conceptual setting in which the ancient tradition of Jewish learning would go forward, what we see in the two most important figures of the transitional generation is only the end of the old, not the beginning of the new. Saul Lieberman continued the received tradition that learning means exegesis of texts, but did not fully master the logic of that received tradition and so distorted it. Salo W. Baron undertook a new intellectual tradition, one that pursued historical study in place of the exegesis of texts, but did. not really grasp the requirements of the kind of new history that he proposed to write. Announcing the advent of social history into the academy of Jewish learning, what he wrote as the economic part of that social history was merely the paraphrase of received texts, with glosses that look suspiciously like a kind of free-associative exegesis. While the one scholar demonstrated the decadence of an old tradition of learning, the other succeeded in showing only the difficulty of actually mastering the discourse of an entirely new academic world.
ANDREW P. NORMAN
History and Theory 30 (May 1991), 119-135
Sweeping denials of the story's capacity to accurately reflect the past are ever catalyzing equally misleading global affirmations. The impositionalists, such as theorist Hayden White, view historical narratives as imposing a falsifying narrative structure on the past, and conclude that narratives cannot be true. Plot-reifiers, such as Alasdair MacIntyre, David Carr, and Frederick Olafson, posit that the past is already narratively structured; historical plots are reified in order for there to be something in the world to which narrative structures can correspond in being true. The antireferentialists such as JeanFrançois Lyotard and Roland Barthes deny that narrative histories even claim truth. Escaping this trilemma of theoretical interpretation involves accepting the idea that construction of a history does not entail its falsification. Historical narrative need to be allowed to function both figurally, in the sense of generating new discursive figures, and at the same time literally, in the sense of asking to be understood literally. Narratives need to be understood on their own terms, and not treated as an approximation to some foreign ideal.
MATT F. OJA
History and Theory 27 (May 1988), 111-124
Narrative history and narrative fiction can be thought of as opposite ends of a single theoretical continuum. Much of the literature on Stalin's purges and the rise of the Soviet gulag system, however, seems to be something more than fiction, yet less than strict historiography. There are five criteria which ease the difficulty in determining whether a given work is history or fiction: the qualitative degrees of truth, the scope of the work, the purpose of the work, the relationship of the author to his or her subject, and the relationship of the reader to the narrative. In some cases the nature of historical events combines with the peculiar capabilities of narrative description to blur the distinction between reality and invention, and places constraints upon the historian's choice of narrative genre. Two hybrids are used as exemplars of works that are both historical and fictive: Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago and Danilo Kis's A Tomb for Boris Davidovich.
History and Theory 26 (December 1987), Bei. 26, 68-74
Every human being is born into a world of stories. Western society has tended to differentiate types of stories, distinguishing, for example, between history and fiction. Recently, the major intellectual task undertaken by many influential thinkers has been that of destroying these distinctions, and insisting on resemblances rather than differences. According to this train of thought, history is as much "imaginative literature" as is fictional writing. Argument in favor of this view is often begun by reducing the description of an historian's data to "scattered events." But, being born into a world of stories, an historian actually works with events only in story-form. It is misleading to compare the concept "event," which belongs to the ontological mode, to "narrative," which belongs to the linguistic mode. "Event" is further ambiguous because "events" can be distinguished ontologically or evaluatively. Historians deal with "event-descriptions," not events, and these descriptions can be correct or incorrect.
History and Theory 29 (December 1990), Bei. 29, 1-13
The J. A. Smith collection at Magdalen College, Oxford, contains an unsigned carbon copy, dated 1914, titled "The Theory of History." The manuscript, if Collingwood's, is his earliest essay on the philosophy of history. That "The Theory of History" may be Collingwood's is established by considerations of chronology, geography, and the appearance of certain intellectual interests mirrored in his other writing of the period 1913 to 1920. Present in the manuscript also are: the principles of the ideality of history, or the unity of past and present in the historian's thought; the principle that historical knowledge presupposes judgment, and therefore, like knowledge generally, changes both knower and known; the conviction that the past is necessarily contemporary; the dialectic between judgment and evidence which is somehow not purely subjective but yields genuine knowledge, and the analogous rejection of the positivistic notions that history is unknowable; and the interest in and identification or near identification of philosophy and history. All these are seminal to everything Collingwood would write on history from 1913 to 1940.
ANDRUS PORK History and Theory 27 (May 1988), 135-145
There has been almost no real dialogue between Soviet Marxist and Western philosophers of history. In dealing with Western historical texts, Soviet authors usually turn to the relationship between Western philosophers of history and various general philosophical and analytical trends. There are also differences in the exact significance of vocabulary used by Soviet and Western scholars. Soviet authors tend to pay a lot of attention to the social nature and ideological functions of critical philosophy of history, while basing their investigations on the materialist understanding of history. The work of V. 1. Lenin serves as a methodological example of a Marxist approach to non-Marxist philosophy, and is the origin of the tendency of most Soviet authors to reject the general methodological principles of Western authors, but at the same time to acknowledge that many interesting and important problems of historical knowledge are raised in Western writings.
History and Theory 29 (October 1990), 321-330
Two types of lying in history and in politics are the "direct lie" method and the "blank pages" method. "Direct lying" is morally more blameworthy than the "blank pages" method. Distortions on the level of semi-theoretical, general, historical statements are ethically more justifiable than distortions on the level of concrete, factual, empirical statements. Historians are morally responsible for lying even when their false account is due to a lack of talent, or when they know the truth but do not make it publicly known, especially if they are one of the few who has access to direct evidence. Historians are possibly excepted from moral responsibility for lying in the case of sanctions imposed upon them, including the martyr and hostage situations, where either their own or their family's property or life are threatened. Sanctions force some historians into an escapist strategy, such that they attempt to study other topics where their cognitive activities are not so heavily restricted by taboos.
History and Theory 27 (December 1988), Bei. 27, 119-159
The sources to which one has to turn for information about the lives of Hasidic masters belong to the hagiographical tradition. During its first stage of compilation in the early nineteenth century, this tradition preserved much authentic historical and biographical material, in spite of the explicit disavowal of any historiographical intent by its editors. They were apologetic about the publication of "mere tales and histories" whose value lay not in the preservation of historical records but rather in their capacity for moral and religious edification. Up until then, this material had been circulating orally but, in contrast to speculative-homiletical works, was not recognized as a legitimate and useful tool for the propagation of Hasidism. However, from the second half of the nineteenth century, in response to the challenges of Jewish Enlightenment, secularization, and most directly in response to the scornful critique of Hasidism and its hagiography which was emanating from the new school of modern Jewish historiography, Hasidic authors, like the exponents of other nineteenth-century ideologies, were beginning to appeal to history for validation. They were adopting the scholarly mannerisms if not quite the historical methodology of their critics. Since the hagiographical tales, and the chain of oral transmission which had traditionally preserved and authenticated them, were both losing their credibility in the new atmosphere of rationalistic skepticism and scientific rigor, Hasidic hagiographers were now eager to present their morally edifying oral traditions as reliable historical records by anchoring them in concrete documentary evidence. The forgeries of the Kherson Genizah supplied what appeared to be incontestable "archival" verification of the tales. The Admor Joseph Isaac Schneersohn exploited the Kherson "documents" in his extensive histories of early Hasidism which reveal his anachronistic, typological thinking and are often incompatible with the facts. As a leader of HaBaD Hasidism at a time of crisis, he saw it as his duty to harness the powerful historiographical idiom to the tasks of rehabilitating the HaBaD movement and of campaigning for the preservation of Orthodox Jewish life in conditions of unprecedented adversity.
History and Theory 30 (February 1991), 1-20
Hempel's proposal of covering laws which explain historical events has a certain plausibility, but can never be actually realized due to the chaotic nature of history. The natural laws that would govern both individual lives and greater history would be nonlinear; consequently, in the terminology of chaos theory, the final states of both are extremely sensitive to initial conditions. Initial conditions would need to be exactly known in order to account correctly for historic phenomena, especially for causes and effects which span long, historically interesting, lengths of time. Covering-law history therefore fails because the details of initial conditions are generally unknowable. Since this constraint diminishes as the time over which covering laws operate is divided into smaller consecutive intervals of scenes, covering-law explanations resolve into those having a narrative temporal structure.
History and Theory 29 (February 1990), 38-70
The program of the Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe, formulated primarily by Otto Brunner, Werner Conze, and Reinhart Koselleck, calls for relating conceptual change to structural transformations of government, society, and economy in German-speaking Europe. J. G. A. Pocock, of Cambridge, identified the range of alternative and competing political discourses available to early modern writers, while Quentin Skinner, also of Cambridge, treated political theories in terms of those historical contexts and linguistic conventions which both facilitate and circumscribe legitimations of political arrangements, and he described such theories as intentional speech acts. Despite the differences in the German and Anglophone modes of treating political language, however, there are no major obstacles in bringing them together. The GG could profit from Pocock's technique of analysis and comparison in identifying early modern political languages, and the issues raised by Skinner about political thought and theorizing as forms of linguistic action, as well as the effect of general linguistic conventions upon available modes of legitimating political arrangements. The Anglophone mode might profit from considering the GG's non-reductive use of social history in conjunction with that of concepts, and from the GG's systematic use of contemporary sources of language and linguistic definitions.
FRITZ K. RINGER
History and Theory 28 (May 1989), 154-172
Contemporary analytical philosophy has not provided historians with an adequate account of their causal reasoning. Attempts to apply the laws of scientific explanation to history have occasioned an artificial split between historical interpretation and historical explanation. The lawlike generalizations of the natural sciences are both perfectly universal and perfectly delimited, whereas the typical generalizations of the historian are imperfectly universal and imperfectly delimited. In historical analysis, a particular development is hypothetically posited as the ordinary course of events, or as the established "trend," and an intervening process or set of conditions is identified as the cause of some alteration in the expected outcome. It is important to differentiate between historical events and the actions of historical figures. The analysis of historical actions requires attention to a second layer of interpretation, that of intention. In a good narrative, everything "important" for the actual outcome will be clearly displayed and cogently ordered in a network of interacting causal sequences; for that is what the historian means when he proposes to "tell the whole story."
PAUL A. ROTH
History and Theory 27 (February 1988), 1-13
The very idea of narrative explanation invites two objections: a methodological objection, stating that narrative structure is too far from the form of a scientific explanation to count as an explanation, and a metaphysical objection, stating that narrative structure situates historical practice too close to the writing of fiction. Both of these objections, however, are illfounded. The methodological objection and the dispute regarding the status of historical explanation can be disposed of by revealing their motivating presupposition: the plausibility of an exclusivist explication of explanation which appeals either to the unity-of-method thesis or some implicit notion of analytic equivalence, both problematic philosophical doctrines. The metaphysical objection fails with the rejection of the idea, in Mink's phrase, of an "untold story." The argument against history as an "untold story" develops from Danto's image of an Ideal Chronicler recording ideal events. A consequence of rejecting this view is that it no longer makes sense to speak of historical narratives as true or false. However, this failure engenders no special problem for assessing the objectivity or explanatory utility of narratives qua explanations.
History and Theory 26 (October 1987), 275-286
The didactics of history traditionally are assigned no role in the academic discipline of history, influencing the students, rather than the practitioners, of history. The developments of the categories of history and pedagogy in West Germany serve to illustrate the actual field of the didactics of history -questions of how one thinks of history; the role of history in human nature; and the uses to which history can be put. In the 1960s and 1970s, as part of an emerging process of historical self-awareness and a concern with curricular reform, the didactics of history developed into a distinct field. Historical didacticians became more involved with the discipline of history, although they were still associated with pedagogy. Currently, four issues form the focus of the didactics of history. They are the methodology of instruction, the function of history in public life, the establishment of goals for historical education in schools, and the analysis of the nature, function, and importance of historical consciousness. The didactics of history can be defined as an investigation of historical learning, the basic question of which asks how our experience and interpretation of the past influences our understanding of the present and our conception of the future.
History and Theory 26 (December 1987), Bei. 26, 87-97
Historical narration is a system of mental operations defining the field of historical consciousness. It is poetic in that it is the performance of creative activity by the human mind in the process of historical thinking. The purpose of historical narration is to make sense of the experience of time in order to orient practical life in the course of time. Three elements distinguish an historical narration from other forms of narration: an historical narration is tied to the medium of memory; it organizes the three dimensions of time (past, present, future) in a concept of continuity; and it establishes the identity of its authors and listeners. In order to develop the concepts of continuity and the stability of identity, an historical narration must fulfill four functions: affirmation, regularity, negation, and transformation. Four types of historical narration correspond to these four functions: traditional, exemplary, critical, and genetical. There is a natural progression through these four types of narration, with critical narration serving as a catalyst. The four types are present in all historical texts, one dominating, the others secondary. Modern historical studies are unique in being informed by theoretically and methodologically organized empirical research. The articulation of theories in history means a progress in reasoning. This affects the role of the concept of continuity of time, which is no longer a given and has become a subject of discussion.
History and Theory 29 (May 1990), 190-204
Ranke's work marks a turning point in the development of historiography: it changed from literature to science. Ranke's introduction of reason into historiography gave it a certain aesthetic quality, which modern historical studies have forgotten. Traditional rhetoric, or the use of language for strategic purposes, was discarded for its fictitious nature. In its place, Ranke advocated a synthesis of the scientific principles of research and the more artistic principles of writing history. This synthesis initiated the aesthetics of historiography, and yielded a hidden rhetoric in the form of linguistic patterns of significance, or topoi, which give the facts of the past their sense and meaning for present-day life. Historiography, by its aesthetics, addresses its audience in a way that makes visible the mental forces which constitute the identity of the addressed people in the temporal course of their life. The postmodern recognition of rhetoric in historiography should not lead us back to premodern rhetoric but forward to a rhetoric of historiography which preserves the necessity of liberating reason in historiography and which reflects this reason not simply as a technique of research, but 'With a much wider and deeper approach to historical studies as a question of the aesthetics of historiography.
CHARLES G. SALAS History and Theory 26 (February 1987), 53-71
Collingwood's attitude toward literary sources is related to the method of selective excavation. But as an excavator, Collingwood came in for some criticism from his fellow archaeologists. Collingwood's treatment of four historical problems is considered: why Caesar invaded Britain, why Augustus did not, how the Claudian conquest proceeded, and why Hadrian built his wall and vallum. Collingwood concluded that Caesar intended to conquer, Augustus did not, and that the vallum served a civil rather than military purpose. In trying to identify past thought Collingwood approaches literary sources and archaeological remains with particular questions in mind. Questions and answers being correlative, this often amounts to having made up his mind in advance. When he comes to the evidence itself, he sees what he expects to see (what makes sense); occasionally what he sees is not in fact there. Where Collingwood creates a history, Peter Salway sometimes seems to be summarizing a subject. With Collingwood, however, we more than participate in processes of thought, we actually see the connections. Collingwood makes the real rational, and no historian of Roman Britain has done that better.
History and Theory 30 (October 1991), 275-301
Most literate societies which have introduced a chronology take a fixed point in time, but the Japanese did not introduce a single era count system, despite the strong potential that existed during the "Buddhist era. " In examining East Asian ideas of chronology the following issues are discussed: (a) the rationale of the combined system of era names and the sexagesimal cycle; (b) the historical development of chronology in the East Asian countries-China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan; (c) some theoretical, political, and sociocultural interpretations of chronology in comparison with Christian chronology; and (d) the relation of chronology to East Asian historiography. The lack of a single era count system in East Asian historiography has many reasons: the combined system of era names and the sexagesimal system was sufficiently endowed with chronological faculties, and the era names system fulfilled an important political function. In addition, it is shown that there is a passive but significant feature of Buddhism as a religion which had let the combined system of chronology have its own way.
ALAN B. SPITZER
History and Theory 29 (February 1990), 16-37
The problematic nature of the relation between a politicized historical rhetoric and the presumed authority of brute fact was starkly outlined in the irreconcilable interpretations of the purge trials that tore apart the political Left in the 1930s. The conclusions of the Commission, headed by John Dewey, on the mock trial of Leon Trotsky in Mexico City in April 1937 rested on the evidence of the factual fabrications of key confessions. The critical contemporary responses were more or less predictable in light of political partis pris. They either disparaged the entire procedure as a Trotskyite "court," where the driving purpose was to acquit Trotsky of guilt, deftly disposed of the key factual allegations, or saw the trial as attacking the Soviet system of justice itself, thus making irrelevant Trotsky's actual guilt or innocence. We now find the Commission's conclusions more persuasive than those of William Z. Foster, Malcolm Cowley, or F. L. Schuman not because of their superior tropological strategies, nor because of a skillful parade of rhetorical figures, nor because of the hermeneutic fusing of historical horizons, but because they satisfy familiar criteria of empirical inference and rational discourse.
PHILLIP STAMBOVSKY History and Theory 27 (May 1988), 125-134
As a contextual phenomenon, metaphor operates in fundamentally different ways in divergent universes of discourse. In historiography, Maurice Mandelbaum's incisive typology of forms of historical discourse affords a comprehensive conceptual basis for foregrounding the three fundamental ways that metaphor functions. Each of the three functions of metaphor facilitates historical understanding on a different epistemological level. Heuristic imagery advances deliberative, analytic understanding and falls within the domain of explanatory discourse. Depictive imagery presentationally facilitates the (phenomenological) apprehension of meanings and occurrences; it is a component of narrative, which includes sequential, discourse. Finally, cognitive imagery, operative on the metahistorical plane, orchestrates interpretive discourse and thereby governs the way that events (or actions) may be known in and of themselves.
MICHAEL S. STEINBERG
History and Theory 30 (December 1991), Bei. 30, 1-4
NANCY S. STRUEVER
History and Theory 27 (February 1988), 51-59
An analysis of the exemplary strategy of Pasquier reveals an intriguing shift in the premises, procedures, and goals of his history, arising from the superimposition of an internalized medieval task on a very different humanist, or classicist, task. Machiavelli's classicizing exempla undermine his theory, while Pasquier's medieval exempla make sense of the Machiavellian project, and can be seen to disconnect the reader from the exemplary. Pasquier retains the Machiavellian analysis of efficiency while subverting the duty of heroic imitation. The priority of consensual purpose over individual action which David assigned to the medieval exemplum reinforces the priority of community over citizen in Pasquier's historical politics. Pasquier's exempla impose on the French reader the obligation of assimilating his or her own laws and history. His initiative is felicitous in comparison with modern projects as well; he reaffirms morality as essentially public, shared, and refuses the inconsistency of deriving a public morality from an infinity of personal acts.
JOHN F. TINKLER
History and Theory 26 (February 1987), 32-52
Classical rhetorical theory distinguished three kinds of genera of oratory - the judicial, the deliberative, and the demonstrative- and there are features of each in Francis Bacon's History of the Reign of King Henry VII. The demonstrative genus provided the basic shape of classical and humanist rhetorical history, while the deliberative and judicial methods also contributed significantly. The judicial method in particular may be very important for modern standards of history-writing. The fact that Bacon employed rhetorical strategies to shape his history suggests that the development of historiography is not as free from "literary" techniques as many historians might like to believe. The inadequacies, by modern standards, of Bacon's classicized historiographical methods and understanding do not condemn the art of rhetoric itself. Small shifts in rhetorical technique or emphasis could reflect significant changes of literary perception and philosophical approach, and different historical periods encourage the use of new and different rhetorical topoi.
History and Theory 26 (December 1987), Bei. 26, 75-86
In attempting to establish a correspondence between the content of historical narrative and that of past facts, F. R. Ankersmit identifies a "mechanism" which enables one to arrive at a narrative representation of the past. He asserts that the mechanism cannot be called a "translation," since the correspondence is indirect. Narrative is, however, closer to the truth than he has stated. Historical narratives can be evaluated on their proximity to the truth by the degree of their coherence. Coherence can be judged on two criteria: the kind of temporal content and the kind of conceptual organization of the worldview of the annalist. The chronicle emerged in the late Middle Ages. Temporally, the chronicler uses retrospection to introduce causal links in a chain of events. The worldview of the chronicler provides the conceptual organization. Strictly historical narratives took form in the nineteenth century and have a temporal organization which is both retrospective and prospective. The control of the theoretical organization of a narrative by an historian can be said to be one of the fundamental rules whereby historiography becomes a more and more coherent and integrated presentation of the past.
History and Theory 30 (October 1991), 324-338
A procedure of historical explanation is proposed which integrates two approaches used by contemporary historians. The motivational model, focusing on the various kinds of motives encountered in historical narratives, and the deductive- nomological model, which focuses on the importance of external events, can be linked together to yield a better integrated explanatory system. The two approaches can be bridged by establishing even more general laws underlying ones already applied, or by searching for substantiations of causes and laws in the origin of the entire historical process. On the basis of analysis of actual historiographical problems it becomes clear that historians mingle explanations in terms of human motives and external occurrences, without making the relations between them sufficiently clear. One needs to recognize that both motives and external events can be found in the historical process. Sequences of causes and effects in narratives have as an essential feature the intertwining of causes interpreted as motives and causes interpreted as external events. The objective conditions explained by the deductive-nomological model should find their reflection in the motivational model in the way that agents take cognizance of these conditions.
RICHARD T. VANN
History and Theory 26 (February 1987), 1-14
The development of Louis Mink's philosophy of history is traced beginning with his classic essay "The Autonomy of Historical Understanding"(1965) and culminating in "Narrative Form as a Cognitive Instrument"(1976). Mink's thoughts on history during this period were marked by an everdeepening interest in the textuality and intertextuality of historical accounts, in the modes of representation which historians adopt and use to produce their "reality effects," and in the effort to mediate between what he was to call the New Rhetorical Relativism and the claim that histories are in some sense true. Mink's response to Hempel's "The Function of General Laws in History," the beginning of Mink's consideration of narrative in "The Autonomy of Historical Understanding" and later in "History and Fiction as Modes of Comprehension," his association with Hayden White, his critique of a paper by Arno Mayer, and the beginning of Mink's final thoughts in "History and Narrative" and "Narrative Form as a Cognitive Instrument" are considered in elaborating the development of Mink's philosophy of history.
History and Theory 29 (May 1990), 158-178
There is a Balinese sense of history, albeit one different from most Western notions of history in that it stresses continuity with patterns from the past, not the past as a "foreign country." Balinese do not narrate events in chronological order for the purposes of writing history, as is the bent of Western scholars. Rather, they tell stories about other things that we would call "mythical" or "legendary" in order to refer to events. Balinese historical writing serves to establish and reflect patterns of social and cultural organization, where things "happen" fortuitously, and truth becomes manifested in the well-performed or well-written text. The textual form of "commemorations" makes the coincidental connections between texts and events quite explicit; they show that most Balinese texts are written as part of a process of writing history. The commemorations intimate that an event is not just an event. It is a moment selected from a temporal continuum by an act of remembering. The texts of Bali were written into the historical moment, in a two-way process of contextualizing and historicizing.
History and Theory 30 (December 1991), Bei. 30, 13-26
Resonances of Samuel David Luzzatto's characterization of Italian Jewry can be heard in the personal memoirs of Arnaldo Momigliano. Pagan, Jewish, and Christian -these were the three civilizations which dominated Momigliano's life work. Between 1930 and 1934 Momigliano wrote four major works on representative areas of the triple civilizations: one on the Maccabean tradition; two articles on Josephus' defense of Judaism, the Contra Apionem; a presentation of his conception of first century Pharisaic Judaism; and Alien Wisdom, in which he explored the Hellenistic discovery of Jews, Celts, Romans, and Iranians, and Rome's meeting of these cultures. Momigliano's discussions of the ways that Judaism both absorbed GrecoRoman culture and reacted to it should be taken into account when examining the central texts of rabbinic literature, for the Rabbis themselves were conscious that they belonged to the triple civilizations. Through an analysis of the Midrash, it is shown that Momigliano helps us to appreciate some of the characteristics which emunah holds in common with pistis or fides. An example of the way Jews reacted to the imposition of Roman rule is given in their reaction to the imperial cult.
BRIAN J. WHITTON
History and Theory 27 (May 1988), 146-168
In his theory of history Gottfried von Herder presents a radical critique of the rationalist discourse of cosmopolitan human development advanced by the Enlightenment thinkers of his day. Herder's critique centers around his theory of history as the evolution of the Volk community. He opposed the way the rationalist perspective abstracts historical human development from all connection with the contingent elements of human historical linguistic and cultural practice in the creation of a unified, integrated world. Herder looks instead to a world of infinite cultural diversity, where each historical culture is recognized as a distinct and unique manifestation of all that is rich and progressive in human life. There are some interesting parallels which can be drawn between Herder's relativistic conception of cultural community and the ideas on language and human cultural development presented in the writings of Franqois Lyotard. Both attack the Enlightenment paradigm of cultural knowledge, its pretensions to objectivity, and its claim of constituting a higher knowledge. There is a basic paradox in Herder's vision, for although Herder denies the validity of the universal claims of Enlightenment reason, his conception would appear to require the development of a form of universal rationality encompassing all national cultures.
History and Theory 29 (October 1990), 263-274
Zagorin presents a critique of F. R. Ankersmit's postmodernist philosophy of history ("Historiography and Postmodernism," History and Theory 28 (, 137-153) as fallacious and opposed to some of the fundamental convictions and intuitions historians feel about their discipline. It questions Ankersmit's conclusion that the overproduction of historical writings and continuing generation of new interpretations has obliterated the past as an object of knowledge. It argues that Ankersmit's attempt, in accord with Hayden White, to aestheticize historiography and regard it as a linguistic construction indistinguishable from literature, must sever it from its necessary grounding in reality and truth. It also rejects as groundless Ankersmit's claim to have deconstructed causality, and concludes that the postmodernist conception trivializes historiography and deprives it of its essential function in education and culture.
History and Theory 26 (October 1987), 300-318
History gained a central role under the Protestants in the Reformation and Counter-Reformation as the revelation of scriptural prophecy. Protestant historiography endowed the Reformation with sacred importance by making it a signal of the Apocalypse. Protestant historians made Augustine's ethereal, timeless dialectic between good and evil earthly and immediate. In Protestant historiography, the Church of England, which was believed to have practiced correct Christianity since the time of the Apostles, played the role of Good, while the Roman Church played that of Evil. The struggle between the two churches was interpreted as an historical dialectic with an imminent end associated with the Apocalypse - the demolition of the Church of Rome. The Protestants turned to history for evidence that they were drawing closer to this Apocalyptic end. The history written by Protestants out of their newly historicized consciousness was a nationalistic one, in which the interpretations of the role of England changed over time.