In this article, following an indication of Meijer C. Smit, I make a basic distinction between the first and the second history. By the first history I mean history as we experience it from within on the basis of personal interest and active involvement in our historical past. The second history is history as academics construct it on the basis of critical research into historical facts. The central question that arises is that of how these two paradigms of history are related. I discuss commemoration as one of the most telling expressions of our involvement in the first history. I analyze it as a hermeneutic, dialogical, and anamnetic experience contrasting anamnetic and academic history as experienced versus constructed history: is the latter value-free? I conclude with the question whether we must regard commemoration as serviceable to the project of academic history or the latter as serviceable to commemoration.
Philosophia Reformata – Brill
Published: Nov 29, 2009