Ways of Understanding the Human Past: Mythic, Epic, Scientific and Historic

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Item Code: IDF950
Author: D.P. Chattopadhyaya
Publisher: Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture: Centre for Studies in Civilization
Language: English
Edition: 2001
ISBN: 8187586052
Pages: 176
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.7" X 5.5"
Weight 370 gm
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Book Description
About the Book:

It is widely acknowledged that an idea expressed in one language, if translated into another, its meaning and its meaning and its associated understandings undergo change. The English word history is ordinarily translated as itihasa in the Sanskrit-American tradition history is traced to the Greek word historia, learning by "enquiry", narration of what is learnt. Words like narrative, story and account are closely linked to history. Itihasa literally means what indeed happened. Its cognates in Indian languages are itivrtta, upakkyana, gatha and purana. That these words are closely related to narrative, story and past events are obvious.

Chattopadhyaya has tried to argue in this book that the modern scientific concept of history, though has its undeniable importance, should not be understood in a dehistorised manner. The; modern concept of history should not be confused with he ancient or even the medieval concepts like purana, puravrtta, itihasa and upakkyana. Our modes of under-standing and action should not be telescoped into their. This distinction squarely rests on the difference between age-specific social conditions and their influence on human idea, ideals, languages, rather modes of speech, and actions. An attempt has been made to show how literature n its wider sense, comprising epoch-bound beliefs, myths, customs, conventions, social movements and other forms of culture enter into historical narrative. In the name of contemporanity of history its very temporality or time-bound character can hardly be denied. Chattopadhyaya argues that history embodies a sort of inter-epochal dialogue (samtap) which, like different forms of science and arts, are endlessly updatable.

The work will be of interest to historians, philosophers of history, social scientist and Indologists.

About the Author:

D. P. Chattopadhyaya studied law, philosophy and history at Calcutta University and London School of Economics. For the last 46 years he has been researching, teaching and lecturing at different Universities in India and abroad. Former Professor of Philosophy at Jadavpur University and member of many learned bodies, national as well as international, he was the Founder Chairman of Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR), New Delhi, and Chairman-cum-President of Indian Institute of Adanced Studies (IIAS), Shimla. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Centre for Studies in Civilization (CSC), New Delhi, and the General Editor and Director of the 50-Volume Project of history of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture (PHISPC).

Among his 28 authored and edited books, mainly interdisciplinary, some have distinct bearing on the nature, diverse explanatory structures and varieties of history, viz. Individuals and Societies: A Methodological Inquiry (1967 & 1973); Anthropology and Historiography of Science (1990 & 1992); Sociology, Ideology and Utopia (1997) and Societies, Cultures and Ideologies (1973 & 2001)

2Itihasa and Epics22
3History as Art: Indian Context61
4History as Science: Indian Context100
5History as Pracical Dialouge: A Passage from Past to Future134

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