Sorting by


More on Collective Memory

As I discussed in my previous post, the sixth chapter of my proposed book Jesus Before the Gospels will cover the area of “collective memory.”  This is a kind of memory that a lot of people don’t seem to be aware of, but it has long been discussed by sociologists.   Here is how I summarize the views of the famous scholar who first articulated an understanding of collective memory, Maurice Halbwachs. *************************************************************** The term “collective memory” was coined by French philosopher and sociologist Maurice Halbwachs (1877-1945).   His most important and influential book appeared (in French) in 1925 and was called, simply, On Collective Memory.   Halbwachs acknowledges the rather obvious point that it is individuals, not social groups, who remember the past (society does not have some kind of enormous hippocampus!).   But in his view, individual memories have all be reconstructed based on our relation to society around us, especially our various social groups – for example, our families, friends, towns or cities, nations.   It is impossible, in fact, for us to remember without having a [...]

2020-04-03T13:47:33-04:00April 24th, 2015|Book Discussions, Memory Studies|

My Memory Book, Chapter 6 on “Collective Memory”

The sixth chapter of my book Jesus Before the Gospels is tentatively entitled “Collective Memory and Early Recollections of Jesus.”  In it I deal with the phenomenon that sociologists call collective memory.   This phenomenon is different from the one we normally think of when we think of memory; most of the time we think of the psychological phenomenon of individual memories – either of things we’ve experienced (“episodic” memories, as they are called, as I have pointed out), or or things we have learned about the world (“semantic” memories), or of things we know how to do, such as hit a backhand in tennis or ride a bike (“procedural “ memories).   Sociologists for the past 90 years, though, have talked about how social groups reconstruct and imagine and preserve the past.   Here is how I introduce the matter in my chapter, before beginning to talk about the sociologists who pioneered the field (Maurice Halbwachs) and developed it (Jan Assmann and Barry Schwartz, for example) ******************************************************************* I first began to see that memory is radically affected by [...]

2020-04-03T13:47:46-04:00April 22nd, 2015|Book Discussions, Memory Studies|
Go to Top