Justice for All
 Church in Decline
 Striking Similarity
 The Efficacy of Prayer
 Are You Ready for Change?
 A Question of Vocation
 The Challenge of Change
 Elul 24
 Elul 23
 Elul 22

Series [All]
 Elul 5777 (9)
 Exploring Translation Theories (25)
 Live Like You Give a Damn
 Memory and Identity
 The Creative Word (19)
 The Cross-Cultural Process (7)
 The Old Testament is Dying
 The Oral Gospel Tradition (4)
 We the People (8)


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Culture from Outside

Religion and Cultural Memory (tr. Rodney Livingstone),
Jan Assmann, Stanford University Press, 2006, page 30

Identity-free knowledge is important, Assmann claims:

One of the most important fubctions of such exotic disciplines as ethnology, Oriental languages and culture, or old American studies is to investigate the formulation of horizons is the social nexus of bonding lnowledge and cultural knowledge. Only when we examine culture from the outside can we perceive the extent to which it is informed by memory.

Put another way, the memory scientist needs to be able to examine, dissect and discuss culture in orde to understand how it works and how it is formed. If the culture is still operative, if there are still people whose identity depends to a greater or lesser extend on cultural memory, then that gets in the way of an impartial scientific examination.

No-one has any real idea what druids did, taught or thought. The modern recreation (or perhaps re-invention would be a better word) of the druid myth - we can safely say 'myth' because although no-one doubts that druids did once exist, there is almost no fact to go with that cultural memory tag - makes a scientific investigation more difficult because people will argue with or block lines of enquiry that conflict with the identity they have created for themselves.

Posted By Jonathan, 8:00am Comment Comments: