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

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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

Chris

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