from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A theory that events are determined or influenced by conditions and inherent processes beyond the control of humans.
- n. A theory that stresses the significant influence of history as a criterion of value.
- n. Art & Architecture The deliberate use or revival of historical styles in contemporary works.
- n. Philosophy The view that historical periods should be studied without imposing anachronistic categories of evaluation.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A theory that events are influenced by historical conditions, rather than by people.
- n. The use of historical styles in contemporary art.
- n. A method of interpretation in Christian eschatology which attempts to associate Biblical prophecies with actual historical events and symbolic beings with historical persons or societies.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a theory that social and cultural events are determined by history
He criticized what he called historicism, the perspective that all standards are relative to or imposed by particular historical situations.
Wilson goes on to maintain that "the triumph of historicism is a pity, not least because the dominance of any orthodoxy tends to deaden the critical faculties," but she has clearly accepted the underlying demonization of formalism (it's "inhuman," to accept it "heresy") that has made the domination of historicism in academic criticism possible.
Perhaps alterity has become such a blind spot in historicism generally because it simultaneously serves as a proxy for "accuracy" and self-consciousness.
Paul Hamilton puts the problem this way: historicism is the name given to this apparent relativing of the past by getting to know the different interpretations to which it is open and deciding between them on grounds expressing our own contemporary preoccupations.
First, because any genuine form of historicism is already presentist in its very challenge to an unentailed, objectivist historiography.
Weber, Marx, and to a lesser extent Annales historians (Bloch, Febvre, Braudel) all had roots in German historicism and in basic ways they both preserved and modified historicist concerns.
The practice of "historicism" - or, reading documents strictly within the context that they were written - has also encouraged scholars to look more closely at long-ignored biblical references in classic political texts.
Another influential summary statement of the common sense of old historicism is Tony Tanner’s essay, Notes for
Because another way of talking about the dark night of historicism is that what you’re seeing is a natural evolution of any kind of movement.
Yet the mythicists who visit here will at the same time appeal to the lack of agreement among historians about the details of Jesus' life as evidence that "historicism" has failed.