Anamnesis in the Lakota Language and Lakota Concepts of Time and Matter

By Sneve, Paul | Anglican Theological Review, Summer 2013 | Go to article overview

Anamnesis in the Lakota Language and Lakota Concepts of Time and Matter


Sneve, Paul, Anglican Theological Review


The English language was the most common language of the missionaries that brought Christianity to the First Nations of North America. This has meant that the Lakota understanding of Christianity has been limited by the English language, because Native Christians were not allowed to express their Christianity through their own culture and language. The Lakota people as well as the other First Nations that accepted Christianity did so with their own cultural and spiritual perspectives on the creator and creation. The problem developed when the missionaries insisted that they express their Christianity only in English. Even the Episcopal and Presbyterian Lakotas, who were allowed to create hymnals and prayer books in Dakota,1 would send their children to boarding schools where they would be forbidden to speak their language outside of church. The language used in church was also different from the Lakota language that was used in day-to-day conversations, with theological words being invented by the missionaries, who tended to eschew already existing words, since they were not "Christian."

The journals and other writings of the earliest missionaries reveal that even though they had learned the language, they often misunderstood the theology of the people they served. The missionaries would cling to false assumptions that they had prior to meeting the Lakota people; this ensured that the theological words they invented often did not assist the Lakota adequately to understand that they in fact had a better grasp of theology than the missionaries who brought Christianity to them.

The Lakota language, like those of most First Nations, uses only the present tense, has no gender pronouns, and does not make a distinction between physical matter and spiritual matter, which makes the Lakota ideally suited to understand many theological concepts that could greatly enrich the Christian tradition. The irony in all this is that because the Lakota People inherited English as their theological language, it can be difficult adequately to express what they understand in their language. Furthermore, many of our older medicine men even use a separate language for the sole purpose of discussing theology. If the early missionaries had allowed the Lakota people to inculturate Christianity as Lakotas without having also to convert to their culture and language, they may have been able to contribute greatly to larger discussions of Christian theology. One such discussion is how the Lakota concept of time can inform the eucharistie concept of anamnesis.

The word anamnesis used in the Christian eucharistie context comes from the part of the liturgy where the phrase "Do this in memory of me" is stated by the celebrant, but the eucharistie event of anamnesis is more than a memorial statement. Dom Gregoiy Dix, in The Shape of the Liturgy, says that the "doing" of the eucharist "recalls" or "re-presents"2 the sacrifice of Christ in his death and resurrection. Previous generations of liturgical scholars struggled with this term, often getting stuck in arguments over whether or not anamnesis means that a re-sacrifice occurs every time the eucharist is celebrated. Some scholars would find such ideas repugnant since Christ was to make only one sacrifice for sin and would not have to continue to do it over and over. Dix was very careful to clearly state that anamnesis is not a re-sacrifice, but "as itself presently operative by its effects."3

When we participate in the Holy Eucharist, we do so as if we are with Jesus (and all other participants) as he celebrated his last supper. This is enabled not because of the actual meal, but rather by his one sacrifice in his death, resurrection, and ascension. This anamnesis is the connecting point for the body of Christ as both the actual presence of Jesus (his body) and the church (also his body.) Dix wrote that the body of Christ in the eucharistie elements could not occur unless the body of Christ of the church participated in that eucharist. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Anamnesis in the Lakota Language and Lakota Concepts of Time and Matter
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.