Social Memory Theory and Conceptions of Afterlife

On May 16-17, 2019, at the Husitská teologická fakulta at Univerzity Karlovy in Czechoslovakia, a conference was held on the subject of “Social Memory Theory and Conceptions of Afterlife”.

Many of the papers at the conference were recorded:

Thursday, May 16th

I. Afterlife from Ancient Egypt and Israel to Early Judaism
10:15 – 10:45 Jiří Janák – Weighing of the Heart: Ancient Egyptian Judgement of the Dead and its Later Developments

10:45 – 11:15 Craig Broyles – The Nightmare of Sheol and the Counter-Memories of Yahwism

11:30 – 12:00 Dávid Cielontko – Eleazar Remembered: The Death and Afterlife of the Maccabean Martyr

II. Afterlife in Early Christianity – A
14:00 – 14:30 Sandra Huebenthal – Additional Notes to an Unfinished Symphony. Ressurection and Afterlife according to Mark
14:30 – 15:00 Thomas R. Hatina – When the Saints Go Marching in: Remembering Vengeance and Vindication in Matthew 27:52–53

15:15 – 15:45 Torsten Jantsch – A memory of Hades: The description of the underworld in Luke 16:19–31 and accounts of journeys into Hades in early Jewish and Greco-Roman literature

15:45 – 16:15 Kyle Parsons – From Romans to Colossians: Making Sense of Competing Conceptions of Resurrection

16:15 – 16:45 František Ábel – The Anamnestic Rhetoric of the Eucharistic Tradition Reflected in 1 Cor 11:24–25: Its Meaning and Role in Perspective of Afterlife Conception

Friday, May 17th

II. Afterlife in Early Christianity – B
10:00 – 10:30 Tobias Nicklas – The Apocalypse of Peter and its Otherworldly Landscape of Memories

10:30 – 11:00 Christian Handschuh – Extended Memory? Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis as „Exempla fidei“

11:00 – 11:30 Jiří Lukeš – The Apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla – Sexual Asceticism as a Condition of Eternal Life

III. Hermeneutics and Memory
11:45 – 12:15 Petr Pokorný – Social Memory Theory and Formgeschichte

12:15 – 12:45 Zeba Crook – Form Criticism vs. Memory Theory on Resurrection Belief

14:00 – 14:30 Jan Payne – Program for Hermeneutics – To Understand the Past Is to Understand How the Passed Ones Approached Their Future

14:30 – 15:00 Lukáš Nikl – The Potential and Limits of Social Memory Approaches in Biblical Studies
15:00 Closing Discussion

 

Chris Keith: Are The Gospels Historically Accurate?

The Better Questions Podcast interviews Chris Keith, Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. While the title of the podcast is “Are the Gospels Historically Accurate?”, Keith takes his cue, perhaps from the lyrics of “11 O’Clock Tick Tock”, and answers other questions:

“What is Social Memory Theory? What assumptions do we have about history? Did people in the first century think about recording history in the same way that we do? Did the events in the Gospels happen exactly as described? How can we know with 100% certainty? Does it matter?”

The interview begins at 3:30:

 

 

“We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong”
– U2, “11 O’Clock Tick Tock”

Sandra Huebenthal – Another Jesus Remembered: How The Third Gospel Narrates Jesus

On March 9, 2017, Professor Sandra Huebenthal delivered the lecture, “Another Jesus Remembered: How The Third Gospel Narrates Jesus,” at New College, Edinburgh University.

Yael Zerubavel – 2009 Stroum Lectures: Encounters with the Past

Professor Yael Zerubavel (Rutgers University) delivered the 2009 Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies at the University of Washington: “Encounters with the Past: Remembering the Bygone in Israeli Culture”.

Professor Zerubavel examines the construction and reconstruction of collective memory. The first lecture examines the use of antiquity for Zionist and nationalist interests in modern Israel.

Lecture 1: “Bridges to Antiquity”

Lecture 2: “Mirrors of Galut (Exile) in the Homeland”

Lecture 3: “When the New Becomes Old”

 

 

Memory and the Reception of Jesus in Early Christianity

The Memory and the Reception of Jesus in Early Christianity Conference was held on Friday 10th to Saturday 11th June 2016, at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Some of the lectures from this conference are now available on YouTube:

Day 1

Chris Keith (read by Steve Walton), “The Memory Approach and the Reception of Jesus”

Christine Jacobi, “The Reception of Jesus in Paul”

Discussion after Keith and Jacobi

Richard Bauckham, “The Psychology of Eyewitness Memory”

Helen Bond, “The Reception of Jesus in the Gospel of John”

Discussion after Bauckham and Bond

Jens Schroeter, “Memory and Theories of History” [lecture is incomplete: cuts off early]

Day 2

Samuel Byrskog, “Memory and Narrative”

Sandra Hübenthal, “The Reception of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel”

Discussion after Byrskog and Hübenthal

Alan Kirk, “Memory and Media”

Joan Taylor, “The Reception of Images of Jesus Prior to Constantine”

Discussion after Kirk and Taylor

Ruben Zimmermann, “Memory, Identity, and Mimetic Ethics”

James Crossley, “The Reception of Jesus in Talmudic Literature”

Discussion after Zimmermann and Crossley

Rafael Rodríguez, “Memory and Liturgy”

Anthony Le Donne, “Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of the Memory Approach”

Panel Discussion

Ron Hendel: “The Exodus as Cultural Memory”

Professor Ron Hendel (University of California at Berkeley) delivered a lecture at the Arizona Centre for Judaic Centre on March 9, 2015, on the subject of “The Exodus as Cultural Memory”.

The Exodus is a central event in biblical and Jewish memory. But according to the archaeological and historical record, it is unclear what it is a memory of.  I propose that it is, in part, a transformed memory of the demise of the Egyptian Empire in Canaan, which facilitated the emergence of Israel as an independent people.  The story served as an engine of a distinctive cultural identity, a function that it continues to perform today.

The lecture begins at 5:30.

A version of the lecture was published in Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective, edited by Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Schneider, and William H.C. Propp (Springer, 2015).

The Historical Jesus, His Illiteracy, and a Memory Approach: A Syndicate Symposium on Chris Keith’s Jesus against the Scribal Elite

Chris-Keith-Symposium-Header

There is a symposium at Syndicate on Chris Keith’s book, Jesus against the Scribal Elite: The Origins of the Conflict (2014).

The following critical responses to the volume are available on the Syndicate website:

Symposium Introduction, by Chris Tilling.

“Put into Perspective By an Illiterate Jesus”, by Dagmar Winter, October 10, 2015.

Response to Chris Tilling and Dagmar Winter by Chris Keith, “Jesus, Scribal Illiteracy, and Conflict: In Grateful Dialogue with My Respondents”, October 12, 2015.

“Text-Brokering and Social Upheaval”, by Tobias Hägerland, October 14, 2015.

Response by Chris Keith, “Understating the Significance of Jesus’ Success: A Response to Tobias Hägerland”, October 14, 2015.

“Literacy, Iconoclasm, and a Maddening Portrait of Jesus”, by Christopher Skinner, October 19, 2015.

Response by Chris Keith, “Embarrassment and the Unpalatably Illiterate Jesus: A Response to Christopher Skinner”, October 19, 2015.

“Will the “Real” Jesus Stand Up?”, by Jason Lamoreaux, October 21, 2015.

Response by Chris Keith, “‘Perspective’ and the Debateable Legitimacy of Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again: A Response to Jason Lamoreaux“, October 21, 2015.

“Social Memory Theory and the Gospels: Assessing the First Decade”: Chris Keith’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture

Professor Chris Keith presents his inaugural professorial lecture “Social Memory Theory and the Gospels: Assessing the First Decade” at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, on October 16, 2013.

Dale Allison: The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus

Professor Dale Allison presents the 2008 Kenneth W. Clark Lectures, “The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus“. The two lectures were originally delivered on Feb 27 and 28, 2008, at Duke Divinity School.

The two lectures are available for free download on iTunes.

Allison discusses the problems faced by the quests for the historical Jesus and social memory theory.

h/t: John Walker

Rafi Greenberg: Archaeology and Identity in Modern Israel and Palestine

Brown University provides a lecture by Rafi Greenberg of Tel Aviv University, on Archaeology and Politics in Israel/Palestine.

Archaeologists play an important part in molding the collective memory of the communities with which they interact. As active participants in the creation of heritage, archaeologists in Israel and Palestine have a role as public intellectuals and a responsibility to past, present and future. This presentation explores the interface between archaeology and the emergence of diverse modern identities in Israel and Palestine: secular and religious, national and ethnic, indigenous and territorial.

Memory in Historical Jesus Research: SBL 2013 Baltimore

An audio recording of an SBL panel session on Memory in Historical Jesus Research (Baltimore, 2013) is available on Anthony Le Donne and Chris Keith’s blog. The quality is not particularly good and the first four minutes of Chris Keith’s paper are missing. The audio is in two parts:

1. The papers

Chris Keith, ‘The Past Approaching and Approaching the Past: The Contribution of Memory Studies to Historical Jesus Research’

Zeba Crook, ‘Memory Distortion and the Historical Jesus’

Rafael Rodríguez, ‘An Uneasy Concord: Memory and History in Contemporary Jesus Research’

Paul Foster, ‘Memory: Help or Hindrance in Historical Jesus Research?’

2. The panel discussion and questions

In Our Time: Online and Podcasts (BBC Radio 4)

In Our Time is a BBC Radio 4 programme on the history of ideas and is presented by Melvyn Bragg. Its range of episodes are classified under the headings ‘Religion’, ‘History’, ‘Culture’, ‘Philosophy’, and ‘Science’. The format consists of Bragg asking questions to, and leading a discussion with, a panel of academics. There are over 600 episodes – either for listening online and/or download – and the full archive is available here. There are numerous episodes covering topics in biblical studies and relevant areas:

Prophecy (13 June, 2013)

Gnosticism (2 May, 2013)

King Solomon (7 June, 2012)

Judas Maccabeus (24 November, 2011)

The Dawn of the Iron Age (24 March, 2011)

The City [Part 1] (25 March 2010)

The Augustan Age (11 June 2009)

St Paul (28 May, 2009)

Miracles (25 September, 2008)

The Greek Myths (13 March, 2008)

Hell (21 December, 2006)

Heaven (22 December, 2005)

Archaeology and Imperialism (14 April 2005)

Angels (24 March, 2005)

Zoroastrianism (11 November, 2004)

Babylon (3 June 2004)

The Fall (8 April, 2004)

The Alphabet (18 December, 2003)

The Devil (11 December, 2003)

The Apocalypse (17 July, 2003)

The Lindisfarne Gospels (20 February, 2003)

The Soul (6 June 2002)

In addition to the episodes listed above, there are episodes on a range of topics and individuals which will be directly relevant to certain areas of biblical studies research (e.g. Plato, Pliny, Roman satire, Wyclif, Erasmus, Milton, historiography, cultural memory).