What is Positive Interpretative Criticism?

There are two types of operations to be perform under internal criticism, positive and negative? Positive interpretative criticism aims at knowing the literal meaning of the document. The study of every document should begin with and analysis of its content made with the sole aim of determining the real meaning of the author. This analysis is a preliminary operations which is distinct and independent of the other operation where the matter is probed further. In positive analysis the general sense of the text is first study and then we proceed to the object and views of the author. To analyse a document is to discern and isolate all ideas expressed by the author. Analysis thus reduce itself to interpretative criticism. Interpretation passes through two stages, the first concern itself with the language of the document to know the literal meaning of the document, and the second deals with its real meaning. To understand or takes the language should be known. Historical material lies scattered in different languages, and hence it is necessary first you get at the literal meaning of the text. A general knowledge of the language is not enough. Each language will have its own inner shades of meaning and research requires that one should have great proficiency in the language in order to know the real meaning. Usually the same meaning is attributed to the same word where it occurs. But in in ordinary language in which document are return meaning fluctuates from passage to passage. We generally understand what is meant by the term honorable but when Mark Antony is using the term and our honorable in respect of Brutus, it conveys altogether a different meaning. Each word expresses a complex and ill-defined Idea and its meaning may be manifold. It could be relative and it is subject to variation. Therefore, the first job of positive interpreter criticism is to know the literal or dictionary meaning of document and secondly to know the special or real meaning of the words in the document.

Positive criticism does requires an enormous expenditure of time in order to know the full and real meaning of term. Every word has to be determined with reference to the language of the time the country of origin the author of composition and the proper context of the situation.

The second stage in positive interpretative to criticism after knowing the literal meaning is to determine the real meaning. The author might have counseled the real meaning under the cover of an allegory symbolism, allusions metaphor, simile, hyperbole or an analogy. Mediaeval miniatures show persons living in bed with crowns on their heads. It does not mean that the monarch of those days were in the habit of going to bed with their crowns on their head. It is merely a symbol in the picture to indicate who the king is and what his rank is. It is necessary to pierce the through the literal meaning to get at the real meaning which the author has purposely discuss under the inexact form. When Rousseau says in Social Contract that man is born free but everywhere he is in chains, he is merely trying to emphasize the importance of liberty and advocacy of the cause of democracy. It should not be inferred that a chain is hanging around the neck of every individual. Thus, the researcher should absorb the real meaning of the text.

The problem of extracting the real meaning is not simple it is very complicated and embarrassing as there is no rigid law to do this job. In official documents we do not made with such difficulties nor is it to be see in historical charters and narratives. But when we deal with private papers, diaries, letters, literary works and poetic compositions the possibility is very great where the authors have hidden their ideas and have express them only in the oblique sense.

To make proper use of which material super special knowledge of Sanskrit will not help; we need great proficiency. If this is the case with only one single source of historical and material on India how about the hundreds and thousands of lithic records, copper plates, literary sources of varied types and so on? In short we can hardly exaggerate the importance of sound knowledge of language for historical writing.

Thus, the art of knowing the little and real meaning has occupied a large space in the history of hermeneutics or interpretative criticism. Only one general principle can be laid down to detect the real meaning. When the literal sense is absurd incoherent, contradictory then there is an oblique sense. Today termine the sense we have to know the language well. When we get at the real meaning the operation of positive analysis is concluded. It gives us the author’s conceptions the images of his mind and his general notions. This information forms and important branch of knowledge from which is constructed the whole group of historical sciences of history of art literature philosophy law and so on. Internal criticism at the positive stage help us to know both the literal and the real meaning of document.

Internal criticism deal with the contents of the documents their probability and the author’s veracity. Positive criticism is in interpretative and its result must be positive in throwing more light on obscure corners.

In short, it must be said that in positive criticism the entire approach must be mythological. The possibilities of errors are numerous. A researcher should always remember that he trends over the field which is strewn all over with interested and distorted reports. The understanding of the literal and real meaning is the first stage of higher criticism. Having performed this task one has to go to the next stage namely of negative interpretative criticism of good faith and accuracy.

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