Friday, 1 July 2016
Religion and Cultural Memory (tr. Rodney Livingstone),
Jan Assmann, Stanford University Press, 2006, page 19
Having listed seven cultural memory formation techniques that he has identified in the book of Deuteronomy, Jan Assmann points to what he thinks the book is doing:
Deuteronomy describes and codifies this transition from a tradition of living to one of learning, as the shift from direct witness and living memory of the generation in the wilderness to the cultural memory of Israel that is built upon an elaborate memory technique.
Direct means, "I was there ... I saw that with my own eyes ...", whereas the cultural memory says, "Remember when we were ...". But it is more than just the memory forms and the wording that changes.
In this transition, Israel constructs itself as a community of learning and remembering.
The foundation of the community itself changes; Assmann suggests that this change had been taking shape from as early as the Babylonian captivity ...
Here religion changes from a matter of cultic purity to one of learning and education.