Chapter four of my book, tentatively entitled “False Memories and the Death of Jesus,” is where I address head-on the psychology of memory. My principal interest, at the end of the day, involves the problems of memory, of how memories for things we experience or hear about can be frail, faulty, and even false. That’s not to deny that most of the time our memories are pretty decent. If they weren’t we wouldn’t be able to function, either as individuals or a society. And so of course most of what we remember is what really happened. At the same time, we often (more than we usually admit — even to ourselves) forget things and, more interesting and important, misremember things.
That obviously creates a big problem for historians. If our access to the past is mainly through sources that have themselves remembered what happened – either because they were there or because they heard it from others (who possibly heard it from others who heard it from others, and so on) – and memories can be faulty or false, well, what does that do to our access to the past?
In this chapter I hit a couple of the highlights in the study of memory starting …
THE REST OF THIS POST IS FOR MEMBERS ONLY. If you don’t belong yet, GET WITH IT AND JOIN!!! All membership fees go to charity!