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Friday, 8 January 2016
Religious Collective Memory

On Collective Memory (Heritage of Sociology),
Maurice Halbwachs, University of Chicago Press, 1991

Maurice Halbwachs, who built on the work of Emile Durkheim to develop the idea of collective or social memory, asserts that Christianity is built upon Judaism's collective memory, using and re-interpreting its vocabulary and Scriptures; its repetition to create history and truth as well as providing both context and continuity. Unlike other groups,

the memory of religious groups claims to be fixed once and for all. (pg 92)

Christianity assimilated the Judaism that had preceded it and continues to adapt its memories to respond to the needs of each 'present' as it occurs. The rites and rituals of the church, the texts and interpretations, repeated on a daily, weekly and annual basis, build and shape the collective memory, while adapting to the now;

it does not preserve the past, but reconstructs it with the aid of material traces, rites, texts and traditions left behind by that past and ... with the present. (pg 119)

Posted By Jonathan, 9:04am Comment Comments: 0