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Encyclopedia > Pseudohistory

Pseudohistory is a pejorative term applied to texts which purport to be historical in nature but which depart from standard historiographical conventions in a way which undermines their conclusions. Works which draw controversial conclusions from new, speculative or disputed historical evidence, particularly in the fields of national, political, military and religious affairs, are often rejected as pseudohistory. This article is about the study of the past in human terms. ... The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write history. ...



As "pseudohistory" is a label rather than a self-defined intellectual movement, a clear definition is not possible. Some criteria which have been suggested are:

  • That the work has a political, religious or other ideological agenda.
  • That a work is not published in an academic journal or is otherwise not adequately peer reviewed.
  • That the evidence for key facts supporting the work's thesis is:
    • speculative; or
    • controversial; or
    • not correctly or adequately sourced; or
    • interpreted in an unjustifiable way; or
    • given undue weight; or
    • taken out of context; or
    • distorted, either innocently, accidentally, or fraudulently.
  • That competing (and simpler) explanations or interpretations for the same set of facts, which have been peer reviewed and have been adequately sourced, have not been addressed.
  • That the work relies on one or more conspiracy theories or hidden hand explanations, when the principle of Occam's razor would recommend a simpler, more prosaic and more plausible explanation of the same fact pattern.

Peer review (known as refereeing in some academic fields) is a scholarly process used in the publication of manuscripts and in the awarding of funding for research. ... For other uses, see Conspiracy theory (disambiguation). ... For the House television show episode called Occams Razor, see Occams Razor (House episode) Occams razor (sometimes spelled Ockhams razor) is a principle attributed to the 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham. ...

Goodrick-Clarke's description of cryptohistory

One narrow description of cryptohistory, a term probably less pejorative than pseudohistory, can be found in The Occult Roots of Nazism (1985) by the historian Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. This book examines the field of Ariosophy, an esoteric movement in Germany and Austria 1890-1930, that Goodrick-Clarke himself describes as occult. The doctrines of Ariosphy strongly resemble Nazism in important points (e.g. racism), however, the only cases of direct influences that Goodrick-Clarke could find were the ones of Rudolf von Sebottendorf (and the Thule society) and Karl Maria Wiligut. While this cases did exist, they are often portrayed strongly exaggerated in the modern mythology of Nazi occultism. Faced with this in his research, Goodrick-Clarke defines this genre as crypto-history, since its "final point of explanatory reference is an agent which has remained concealed to previous historians."[1] When he debunkes several crypto-historic books in Appendix E of the Occult Roots of Nazism, he states, that these "were typically sensational and under-researched. A complete ignorance of the primary sources was common to most authors and inaccuracies and wild claims were repeated by each newcomer to the genre until an abundant literature existed, based on wholly spurious 'facts' concerning the powerful Thule Society, the Nazi links with the East, and Hitler's occult initiation."[2] Here Goodrick-Clarke brings down the description of cryptohistory to two elements: "A complete ignorance of the primary sources" and the repetition of "inaccuries and wild claims". The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology : The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935 is a book by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. ... Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke is the author of several books on modern occultism and esotericism with the history of its intersection with fascist politics. ... Thule Society emblem Nazi mysticism is a term used to describe a philosophical undercurrent of Nazism; it denotes the combination of Nazism with occultism, esotericism, cryptohistory, and/or the paranormal. ... For other uses, see Occult (disambiguation). ... Nazism in history Nazi ideology Nazism and race Outside Germany Related subjects Lists Politics Portal         Nazism or National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), refers primarily to the ideology and practices of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party, German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) under Adolf Hitler. ... Rudolf Freiherr von Sebottendorf was the alias of Adam Alfred Rudolf Glauer (November 9, 1875 – May 8, 1945), who also occasionally used another alias, Erwin Torre. ... Thule Society emblem The Thule Society (German: Thule-Gesellschaft), originally the Studiengruppe für germanisches Altertum Study Group for Germanic Antiquity, was a German occultist and Völkisch group in Munich, named after a mythical northern country from Greek legend. ... Karl Maria Wiligut (alias Weisthor) (December 10, 1866 - January 3, 1946) was also known as Himmlers Rasputin. He was born in Vienna in what was then Austria-Hungary. ... Nazism in history Nazi ideology Nazism and race Outside Germany Related subjects Lists Politics Portal         Nazi occultism is an occult undercurrent of Nazism, of minor overall importance. ...


Some critics argue that pseudohistory is a pejorative label which, of itself, has no content in the absence of specific criticisms of the underlying historiographical method employed in a historical work and, ipso facto, will itself be a controversial claim: A work which has no popular or intellectual support is not likely to attract sufficient attention to be labelled pseudohistorical — it will be ignored completely. An argument, therefore, that a given work is pseudohistorical (without more particular specific criticisms of its conclusions or methods) may be ad hominem in nature. Historiography studies the processes by which historical knowledge is obtained and transmitted. ... Look up ad hominem in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Calling something "pseudohistory" assumes that there is a correct historiographical method, and ultimately a single objectively true account of a given set of facts. This analysis is not consistent with certain metaphysical theories, particularly relativist views of historical affairs, which would reject the notion of any truth outside language. (See, for example, Richard Rorty's Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity). Historiography is the study of the way history is and has been written. ... Plato (Left) and Aristotle (right), by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of reality, being, and the world. ... Cultural relativism is the principle that beliefs and activities should be interpreted in terms of his or her own culture. ... Richard McKay Rorty (October 4, 1931 in New York City – June 8, 2007) was an American philosopher. ... Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989), written by American philosopher Richard Rorty, is based on two sets of lectures given at University College, London, and at Trinity College, Cambridge. ...

Examples of pseudohistory

The following are some commonly-cited examples of pseudohistory:

The definition of pseudohistory can be extended to varying contexts. Historian Douglas Allchin[3] contends that history in science education can not only be false or anecdotal, but ideologically misleading, and that this constitutes pseudohistory. Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American author of the early 19th century. ... Sir Thomas Malory wrote the most famous fictional biography of the Middle Ages with Le Morte dArthur about the life of King Arthur. ... Christopher Columbus (1451 – May 20, 1506) was a navigator and colonialist who is one of the first Europeans to discover the Americas, after the Vikings. ... Marco Polo (September 15, 1254[1] – January 9, 1324 at earliest but no later than June 1325[2]) was a Venetian trader and explorer who gained fame for his worldwide travels, recorded in the book Il Milione (The Million or The Travels of Marco Polo). ... Immanuel Velikovsky photographed by Fima Noveck, ca. ... Worlds in Collision book cover. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Cover of History: Fiction or Science? Chronology volumes 1,2,3 The New Chronology of Anatoly Timofeevich Fomenko is an attempt to rewrite world chronology, based on his conclusion that world chronology as we know it today is fundamentally flawed. ... Heribert Illig (born 1947 in Vohenstrauß, Germany) is a German Systems analyst and the leading proponent of the so-called phantom time hypothesis which asserts that the Dark Ages did not exist and that the approximately 300 years between 614 and 911 are an invention. ... Phantom time hypothesis is a theory developed by Heribert Illig which suggests that the Early Middle Ages (614–911 CE) never occurred, meaning that all artifacts attributed to this time period are from other times and that all historical figures from this time period are outright fabrications. ... Prieuré de Sion, usually rendered in English translation as Priory of Sion or even Priory of Zion, is an elusive protagonist in many works of both non-fiction and fiction. ... Holy Blood, Holy Grail is a controversial New York Times bestselling book by authors Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln, which was published in 1982 by Dell (ISBN 055212138) in London. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... This article is about the disciple of Jesus. ... For other uses, see Merovingian (disambiguation). ... Richard Harwoods Did Six Million Really Die? Holocaust denial is the claim that the mainstream historical version of the Holocaust is either highly exaggerated or completely falsified. ... For other persons of the same name, see David Irving (footballer) and David Irving (politician). ... For other uses, see Holocaust (disambiguation) and Shoah (disambiguation). ... Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong in NASAs training mockup of the Moon and lander module. ... Project Apollo was a series of human spaceflight missions undertaken by the United States of America (NASA) using the Apollo spacecraft and Saturn launch vehicle, conducted during the years 1961 – 1975. ... Gavin Menzies Gavin Menzies (b. ... (Redirected from 1421: The Year China Discovered The World) The 1421 theory is a term to describe a theory from former British Royal Navy submarine commander Gavin Menzies. ... This Chinese map, produced in 1763 and claimed by the unidentified author to be based on a 1418 Chinese map, has produced much controversy as to how much knowledge Medieval China had of the Americas and Antarctica. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... An 1812 map of Africa see African studies for the study of African culture and history in Africa. ... Lemuria is the name of a hypothetical lost land variously located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. ... For other uses, see Atlantis (disambiguation). ... David Barton is an author and an American historian who analyzes the Church-State relationship in the United States of America. ... For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ... Ward LeRoy Churchill (born October 2, 1947) is an American writer and political activist. ...


  1. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 218
  2. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 224,225
  3. ^ Allchin, D. 2004. Pseudohistory and pseudoscience. Science & Education 13:179-195. [1]

Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

Pseudoarchaeology is an aspect of pseudohistory. ... A typical 18th century phrenology chart. ... There are many approaches in the branch of historic metrology which must be qualified as pseudoscience. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Pseudohistory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (385 words)
Pseudohistory is a pejorative term applied to texts which purport to be historical in nature but which depart from standard historiographical conventions in a way which undermines their conclusions.
As "pseudohistory" is a label rather than a self-defined intellectual movement, a clear definition is not possible.
Pseudohistory assumes that there is a correct historiographical method, and ultimately a single objectively true account of a given set of facts.
  More results at FactBites »



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