Cultural Memory and Early Civilization: Writing, by Jan Assmann

By Jan Assmann

Now to be had to an English-speaking viewers, this e-book offers a groundbreaking theoretical research of reminiscence, identification, and tradition. It investigates how cultures bear in mind, arguing that human reminiscence exists and is communicated in methods, particularly inter-human interplay and in exterior structures of notation, similar to writing, which may span generations. Dr. Assmann defines theoretical techniques of cultural reminiscence, differentiating among the long term reminiscence of societies, that may span as much as 3,000 years, and communicative reminiscence, that's generally limited to 80-100 years. He applies this theoretical framework to case reports of 4 particular cultures, illustrating the functionality contexts and particular achievements, together with the country, overseas legislation, faith, and technology. finally, his learn demonstrates that reminiscence isn't easily a way of preserving details, yet particularly a strength that could form cultural identification and make allowance cultures to reply creatively to either day-by-day demanding situations and catastrophic alterations.

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Die zwei Kulturen des pharaonischen ¨ Agypten", in: A. Assmann, D. ), Kultur als Lebenswelt und Monument (Frankfurt 1991, 135–152). Memory Culture 41 sliding scale. Even the example of colloquial and literary language can by no means be pinned down to a cut-and-dried diglossia, and in many cases it is more aptly described as two extremes of a sliding scale. However, there is also a degree of internal differentiation between the two types of memory through association with the festive and sacred, and this distinction cannot be defined by the scale image.

1, n. 2). However, this results in the loss of an important category: that of the neutrality of history writing. Regardless of the influences of time and special interests, ever since Herodotus there has been a preoccupation with the past that stems purely from “theoretical curiosity,” the need to know, and this is clearly very different from those forms of history that we call “memory culture” that are always related to the identity of the remembering group. In the sense of the distinction drawn later in this chapter, scholarly historiography is one form of “cold” memory.

Donald B. Redford, Pharaonic King-Lists, Annals and Day Books (Mississauga: Benben, 1986), 151 ff. ¨ Jan Assmann, Ma’at: Gerechtigkeit und Unsterblichkeit im alten Agypten (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1990), chapter 2. Lichtheim ( Jerusalem: Magnes 1990), 257–263. 20 Cultural Memory and Early Civilization of resuscitation performed by the desire of the group not to allow the dead to disappear but, with the aid of memory, to keep them as members of their community and to take them with them into their progressive present.

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