Sunday, 28 August 2016
Religion and Cultural Memory (tr. Rodney Livingstone),
Jan Assmann, Stanford University Press, 2006, page 110
Assmann first describes how text and action are embedded in ritual for a sacred text.
With the sacred text it has the function of a performative speech act. When the right words are spoken at the right time and in the right place by the right speaker in accordance with the rules, these words do not refer to a meaning, they create it ... Thus the sacred text becomes associated with the idea not simply of pointing to what is sacred, but, in a sense, of producing it ('theurgically').
This, Assmann suggests, explains what sacred texts can appear to be exclusive, secret and ritualistic.