Historical Distortions and Misconceptions: Exploring Problems and Issues in the Use of the Marxist Framework in ‘Veneration Without Understanding’ (1970) by Renato Constantino

  • Francisco Jayme Paolo A. Guiang University of the Philippines - Diliman


Renato Constantino’s article “Veneration Without Understanding” is examined in order to see how the historian used a Marxist framework to ultimately produce his own version of the national hero, Jose Rizal. The article begins with an overview of Marxist historiography to provide an understanding of Constantino’s methodology, then deconstructs the framework using structuralism as lens to demonstrate how the historian drew a historically anachronistic account of the national hero. Analysis is focused on Rizal’s outlook on the Philippine Revoution of 1896. The study argues that there is need to reconcile the opposing views and interpretation of Rizal, and take into account other sources beyond the hero’s controversial December 15 Manifesto, including the hero’s key works and correspondences. Constantino’s application of a Marxist framework to understand Rizal, this study contends, is inadequate and produces a historically anachronistic version of the national hero. The study per se does not aim to discredit the application of Marxism or the use of a particular theoretical construct but cautions against the rigid application of theoretical lenses in historiography and in the production of historical narratives.

Author Biography

Francisco Jayme Paolo A. Guiang, University of the Philippines - Diliman
Francisco Jayme Paolo A. Guiang teaches Philippine and Asian history at the History Department of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. He received his BA History Degree from the University of the Philippines in 2012. He may be reached at faguiang@gmail.com.


historical interpretation, frameworks and perspectives, historical anachronism, historiography, Marxist framework, structuralism