A New History of the Humanities features as lead-review in this week’s TLS.
“Those who work in the humanities must sometimes face “intellectual embarrassment that we have no hard-and-fast definition of what the humanities are”. Thus begins the review by Noel Malcolm of “an extraordinarily ambitious undertaking” by the Dutch scholar Rens Bod, who has endeavoured to provide an answer. His book is called A New History of the Humanities but is, in fact, “the first ever history of its kind”. Bod begins some 2,500 years ago with the Sanskrit grammarian Panini, and views his subject as a persistent “search for principles and patterns”, some of which Malcolm sees too, and others not.”
For more information on the history of the humanities, go to the weblog “The Forgotten Sciences”.