MHT: Postmodern Critiques of Modern History


Pursuing Veritas

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on the appropriate approach to and method for historical theology.

PostmodernismPostmodernism, while notoriously difficult to define and existing in a variety of forms, essentially involves an attempt to move beyond Modernism and the questioning of metanarratives and truth claims due to the constructed nature of human language and reality. With regard to historical methodology, Postmodernism typically functions as a problematization of the Modern and a call to hear the previously unheard “ancient voices that have long been suppressed.”[21] For Postmodern thinkers, narrative is never neutral, but is always ideologically freighted. New intellectual history, therefore, explores the “material embeddedness of ideas and their relation to power” while acknowledging the historian’s situation and interests.[22] Accordingly, “history” becomes understood as distinctly different than “the actual past,” for the practices and structures of historians are always influencing conceptions of the past and synthesizing…

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