Monday, April 13, 2009

Historiographical Fiction

As for internal criticism, which is so necessary and excellent so long as it uses one document in order to criticize another, eliminating from them what only appears to be true in order to discover what is really true, it loses all its value from the moment that it substitutes the point of view of the observer for that of the things observed. We have seen the birth of the "Critical Spirit" and all the pedantic fiction with which it encumbers history, fiction which at its best is not even entertaining. For it is characteristic of the "Critical Spirit" to be itself the measure of historical reality. When an event surprises it, the event loses the right to have taken place.

--Etienne Gilson, Heloise and Abelard

Happy Easter, readers all.

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