St Mary’s Twickenham Conference on Memory and the Reception of Jesus in Early Christianity

Rather than doing a sum­ma­ry for each day I am writ­ing a sin­gle sum­ma­ry for the con­fer­ence, as I trav­el up to Oxford. The past day and a half of this con­fer­ence have been stim­u­lat­ing and engag­ing, with it revolv­ing around paired longer ple­nary papers and longer breaks for dis­cus­sion and net­work­ing. Unfortunately Chris Keith could not be at the con­fer­ence, as his moth­er had passed away, and so the con­fer­ence opened with his paper being read by Steve Walton, which gave a good lay of the land.

Instead of com­ment­ing on each paper, I will high­light a few the­mat­ic aspects that I believe war­rant fur­ther dis­cus­sion. The first, and pri­ma­ry dis­cus­sion point for the con­fer­ence was the sta­tus of the ‘mem­o­ry approach.’ Is it tru­ly a method, or is it a way of con­firm­ing oth­er method­olog­i­cal approach­es. Across the range of pre­sen­ters there was a sim­i­lar range of inter­pre­ta­tions and under­stand­ings of whether Memory Theories can be con­sid­ered a method­olog­i­cal approach. This is cer­tain­ly anoth­er area that deserves fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion and debate.

IMG_4149The sec­ond major theme was the place and cat­e­go­ry of mem­o­ry and the inter­ac­tion with the psy­cho­log­i­cal research. While Richard Bauckham pre­sent­ed on per­son­al eye­wit­ness mem­o­ry, his paper was per­haps the odd one out with oth­er papers pri­mar­i­ly con­sid­er­ing social and cor­po­rate approach­es to mem­o­ry. Throughout all of the dis­cus­sions I think there is sig­nif­i­cant room to build a more robust the­o­ry and engage­ment with the the­o­ry and inter­ac­tion between per­son­al, social and cor­po­rate mem­o­ry at the cog­ni­tive and socio-cog­ni­tive level–as Anthony LeDonne high­light­ed in his sum­ma­ry paper.

Finally, while some papers addressed the over­lap between mem­o­ry and iden­ti­ty, I feel this is anoth­er area that is some­what under­the­o­rised, and would ben­e­fit from fur­ther engagement.

Overall this was an engag­ing con­fer­ence, and the struc­ture lent itself to robust dis­cus­sion and debate. Quite enjoyable.

Programme here: Memory Conference Programme FINAL

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