TRUTHCENTRISM is the practice of viewing history from an exegetical view, not an eisegetical view.
As much as possible, set aside preconceived notions when seeking to interpret and understand ancient history, along with its contemporary impact on culture/society.
Both the head (documented truth) and the heart(relationships) matter.
EISEGESIS (subjective): is the process of misinterpreting a text in such a way that it introduces one's own ideas, reading into the text. This is best understood when contrasted with exegesis.
EXEGESIS (objective): In contemporary usage it means a critical explanation of any text. The goal of exegesis is to explore the meaning of the text which then leads to discovering its significance or relevance.
Exegesis includes a wide range of critical disciplines: textual criticism is the investigation into the history and origins of the text, but exegesis may include the study of the historical and cultural backgrounds for the author, the text, and the original audience. Other analysis includes classification of the type of literary genres present in the text, and an analysis of grammatical and syntactical features in the text itself.
Let's look at this within the context of the topic of this page. While exegesis draws out the meaning from the text and documented research, eisegesis occurs when a reader reads his/her interpretation into the text and the documented research: "My mind is already made up, so don't try to confuse me with any images, DNA or other documented material that give a credible alternative view. I am only interested in what supports my own theories."
This is an important aspect for both Afrocentrists and Eurocentrists to consider.
Exegesis tends to be objective when employed effectively and is willing to challenge previously-held beliefs when confronted with documented research.
Eisegesis is regarded as highly subjective and is influenced easily by material that supports their previously-held beliefs, rejecting credible evidence that communicates another view. An individual who practices eisegesis is known as an eisegete, as someone who practices exegesis is known as an exegete.
TRUTHCENTRISM: I would hope that everyone reading this piece wants to be an objective exegete, when seeking to determine the ethnicity of the ancient Egyptians and other matters that emerge. A Truthcentrist is committed to the truth, as best as he/she can determine, regardless of the emerging picture (good, bad, or ugly). It would be wonderful if we could stop the finger-pointing. What can we learn from each other?
What are the principles one can apply as a Truthcentric exegete? This would be a great topic for any college classroom. Feel free to email me your thoughts on this matter.
There's a lot of positive/negative emotion and passion to go around. Let's take a look at what seems to be happening:
FROM the AFROCENTRIST PERSPECTIVE: For centuries Eurocentrists have set the rules for research and reporting on ancient Egyptian/African history and similar topics. It has only been mere decades since the Afrocentric view has developed traction. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Afrocentrist feel like they are up against an almost impossible task -- catching up and then seeking to reverse some of the biased and false information in mainstream textbooks and lectures that Afrocentrists believe have permeated North American and European educational institutions.
Those who boldly proclaim and publish their convictions detail the subtle and blatant disrespect they feel from much of the "established" educational community. Internet blogs, DVDs, book publication and film production become some of the alternative methods for communicating their research.
FROM the EUROCENTRIST PERSPECTIVE: Many Eurocentrists feel like they have to shut down what they are truly thinking and feeling for fear that they will be branded as racists or bigots. Those who do boldly speak up in the public forum with their unvarnished opinions about ancient African/Egyptian history detail the disrespectful treatment they have received from some Afrocentrists.
The Polarizing Effect: Afrocentrism and Eurocentrism seem to be on a collision course at every turn. If this is true, it is not a good atmosphere for reasoned conversations. Heat emerges. Tempers flare. Things are said. Feelings get hurt. The line between Afrocentrists and Eurocentrists widens. There are no easy answers.
I'd like to be a part of a growing group of people who commit to mutual respect when discussing such topics. Both the "head" (documenting truth) and the "heart" (relationships) are important. No egg shells. The weird/petty stuff that generally clings to political correctness is set aside. Seeking first to understand before seeking to be understood.
NOTE: None of us have a 360 degree perspective on this or any other topic. I don't. We all have blind spots in our research. And I am hoping that you might point them out to me. That's why we need each other. Academic programs need to be held accountable and peer reviewed. Confident people always learn more from their critics than from the others who may think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Here are a few suggestions for all of us to consider -- Afrocentrists, Eurocentrists and Truthcentrists alike:
1. Don’t be afraid to hear/read what critics have to say:you may learn something. Remember...it's what we learn after we think we know it all that really counts.
2. Give them your ear: but within reason. Ear Reverently. If you can see their side, they’re more likely to take a look at yours. foul language or name-calling is not the basis for a mutually-respectful conversation.
3. Don’t take it personally: most critics are attacking ideas, not people. Choose curiosity over arrogance or confrontation.
4. Don’t try to convince: present your ideas in an orderly manner, but remind yourself that most critics cannot be convinced.
5. If critics choose to remain anonymous, ignore them:cowards tend to hide behind the supposed anonymity of the Internet.
6. Keep your ego out of the conversation: practice emotional intelligence. When possible, create space between the critique and the response. Time can give perspective.
7. Feedback is your good friend: use it if it’s useful. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and smarter. There are three main ways to deal with feedback: a). ignore it, b). accept it all, or c). figure out what’s relevant and actionable, and use it to learn and grow in your research skills.