"A text is a network of resistances, and a dialogue is a two-way affair; a good reader is also an attentive and patient listener [...] An interest in what does not fit a model and an openness to what one does not expect to hear from the past may even help to transform the very questions one poses to the past."
This is a quote from Dominick LaCapra's article, "Rethinking Intellectual History and Reading Texts," History and Theory, 19:3 (1980), pp. 245-276. Between anachronistic presentism and antiquarian history "for its own sake," we should always look for the right balance, case by case, and there's nothing else we can do, in fact. So many scholarly articles on the "methodology" of intellectual history have been written only to argue this in the end, though by different paths and in different words. And this need for a "balance" is not only an imperative for intellectual historians but one for historians more generally. We can find a healthy dose of "easy explaining" on behalf of this principle of non-principle in Mark Bevir's article, "The Errors of Linguistic Contextualism," History and Theory, 31:3 (1992), pp. 276-298 (although Bevir's treatment of Derrida is highly reductive and problematic).