Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Friday, January 02, 2015

History, Science, and Hermeneutics

In a resolution passed in its three-day platinum jubilee session at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, the IHC called for “defence of scientific method in history”.
“Unfortunately, even the Prime Minister has suggested that in the hoary past, Indians had learnt, and then forgotten, plastic surgery of a kind going far beyond what is now possible. There is widespread belief that soon textbooks will be revised or rewritten, to inculcate such a strongly misleading and divisive brand of history among pupils in our schools,” it said, referring to Modi’s statement at a Mumbai event in October where he had linked mythology with medical science.
“It also calls upon all members of the political establishment to refrain from making statements contrary to well-established historical facts. They should understand that loose or irresponsible statements of this kind tarnish the good repute of this country,” said the resolution.
Underlining the importance of “scientific method in history”, the IHC expressed apprehension about “voices being raised in certain influential quarters on the need to rewrite Indian history through an abundant use of ancient mythology and speculative chronology, while fresh myths, like that of Indians originally peopling the whole world, are being created.” - See more at

Minding the Modern:

Modernity as a hermeneutic problem

posted by Thomas Pfau
What the book is not, and does not purport to be, is a linear and continuous narrative of social or even philosophical history. Neither is it a Rezeptionsgeschichte on the model of the Constance School, which traces the popular reception and dissemination of ideas. As Brad Gregory observes, “how ideas were received is not Pfau’s principal concern.” As an eminent historian of early modern Europe, Gregory understandably regrets that my narrative does not embed ideas more fully in their complex and often volatile historical moment. Similarly, Paul Silas Peterson would have preferred if Minding the Modern had focused on socio-historical contexts, such as tensions between popular religious culture and the late-medieval Catholic magisterium, ...

To stipulate that we cannot appraise the thrust and significance of ideas and concepts independent of the historical context supposed to have generated them means preemptively to subordinate philosophical and theological hermeneutics to historical narratives. Yet such narratives don’t just write themselves but rest on myriad interpretive choices. The very labor of specifying and rendering intelligible historical contexts—both for those inhabiting them and for historians belatedly returning to them—actually presupposes conceptual frameworks (not necessarily explicit) on which all hermeneutic practice depends. Hence, if (as Brad Gregory points out) Minding the Modern mainly “deploys ideas as agents,” that approach should not be preemptively rejected as the spurious fruit of esoteric intellectualism or as a questionable heuristic fiction.
Rather, my approach is shaped by the conviction that our inevitably fluid, complex, and often bewildering socio-historical reality will disclose its distinctive features, tendencies, and significance only where it is (pre-)filtered through various narrative and conceptual frameworks. It is true, of course, that in their very application to that reality, these frameworks themselves are in turn subtly and, on occasion, massively altered. Nonetheless, I maintain that such frameworks logically precede the historical situation to which they are applied. On rare occasions, conceptual and narrative frameworks may be rendered unusually explicit by the work of philosophical or theological reflection.

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