In the preface to his book The Problem of Unbelief in the Sixteenth Century: The Religion of Rabelais, Lucien Febvre tells us the following:“The problem is to determine what set of precautions to take and what rules to follow in order to avoid the worst of all sins, the sin that cannot be forgiven— anachronism.” Febvre’s text raises, for us, three questions, which I shall try to untangle here. Firstly, why, for the historian, is anachronism the unforgivable sin above all others? Secondly, to be such a sin, what must anachronism be? Thirdly, to give anachronism the status of a sin fatal to the spirit of history, what must history be? This triple questioning falls within the framework of a larger reflection on the question of truth in history, a reflection led by a hypothesis that I now formulate in the most general way.
Rancière, Jacques (2015) "The Concept of Anachronism and the Historian's Truth (English translation)," InPrint: Vol. 3: Iss. 1
Available at: https://arrow.tudublin.ie/inp/vol3/iss1/3