Altes Testament 1



Remembering (and Forgetting) in Judah’s Early Second Temple Period

Workshop of the LMU and the University of Alberta, Edmonton

27.06.2011 – 01.07.2011

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Department of History and Classics
Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Faculty of Catholic Theology and Faculty of Protestant Theology

Studies on ancient Israel discourse during the early Second Temple period and of the Hebrew Bible in general have not been influenced much by recent studies in social memory, the role of sites of memory, and the like. This is not surprising, since most studies in social or cultural memory have focused on modern societies or communities (as demonstrated by any issue of History and Memory). Yet remembering played a central role in ancient Israel as well. Although it is impossible to reconstruct fully the “collective memory” of a society that left very few substantial traces outside a corpus of highly literary texts, one can still approximate the multiple ways in which the monarchic past was construed in Judah during the early Second Temple period. Moreover, one can still advance historical explanations to deal with questions such as (a) why these images of the past and not others? and (b) which social roles were fulfilled by collective/social acts of imagination of the past that resulted from reading a shared set of texts, within a shared historical context? In addition, little has been done on questions of relative “mindshare” of memories in ancient Israel and on the imagined, mental “sites of memory” that the literati of the period developed through their readings.

One of the best ways to explore the potential contribution of memory studies to historical knowledge about the past is to engage scholars of different backgrounds in a constructive dialogue. To facilitate the development of a shared research environment that characterizes successful workshops and distinguishes them from academic conferences, this event includes very substantial built-in time for conversation and discussion. In addition, the workshop has a well balanced roster of participants to achieve its goal. The workshop engages scholars from different methodological backgrounds in a shared conversation about matters of social memory in ancient Israel.

At the core of this workshop stand the Dept. of History and Classics at the University of Alberta, Edmonton/Canada, and the Theological Faculties at the University of Munich (LMU) who have been successfully collaborating for several years in the area of ancient Israelite History and Hebrew Bible. As in past years, both groups have served as focal points for assembling teams from Europe and Canada who can make this workshop an exciting learning and research experience.