Friday, 3 July 2015
Conflict and Identity in Romans: The Social Setting of Paul's Letter,
Philip F. Esler, Fortress Press, 2003, page 28
Esler revisits the connection between social identity and time. He says,
A group's sense of identity is tied to the social time in which it sees itself located. Accordingly, the extent to which social time can be reinterpreted by people in power within a group, or by those seeking power to persuade the members that their vision of its identity is the correct one, suggests that the past of a group is likely to be a focus of vigorous contestation, as proponents of rival views reinterpret past events and explain the significance of their reinterpetations for the group's present and future.
Does that happen in the groups to which you belong? You may not be aware of it happening, but it almost certainly is. Religious groups are particularly prone to the habit. Think about the past history of your church or synagogue, particularly in relation to founding members or recent leaders and you'll soon see how reinterpretation - sometimes less charitably called revisionism - has been at work.