Friday, July 24, 2020


Facts and Interpretation

Jerzy Linderski, "Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum: Concepts of Defensive Imperialism," Roman Questions: Selected Papers (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1995), pp. 1-31 (at 8-9):
For Roman facts are not waiting there to be collected; the act of picking them up is the act of choice and interpretation. No fact exists without an interpretation imposed upon it. For facts are like words in a dictionary; they are dead. In the real language words come to life only in enunciations; in the real world facts come to life only in the flow of history. And the flow of history, as we know it, flows from the ordering mind of the historian, ancient or modern. The tools of order are unexpressed philosophy and assumed terminology. Hence even the most extensive erudition and deepest knowledge of the quisquilia of epigraphy may still result in specious history. In order to understand or refute what a historian says, we must investigate his frame of mind. This appears to us a natural postulate with respect to our ancient forefathers, but the dissecting of the minds of our contemporary colleagues many would feel is a different matter: a task unbecoming a scholar and gentleman. Yet we are not questioning honesty; we are questioning philosophy. We are seeking premises unexpressed, unrealized, unsuspected.
Id., pp. 13-14:
In books purporting to deal with History and not merely with isolated happenings it is well to read the preface; for in the preface the author reveals his motives and confesses his dreams.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?