On Religion and Memory

On Religion and Memory

On Religion and Memory

On Religion and Memory

Excerpt

This volume brings together a number of studies dealing with the pastness of the religious, Christian past. While it is generally accepted that temporality and historicity are constitutive elements of the Christian religion to the extent that Christianity is sometimes credited with being their founder, the actual status of time in religion is far from self-evident. First, there is the issue of the proximity of eternity as it hovers over each and every temporal manifestation of both Christian worship and reflective, religious language. This incarnation of timelessness inside the Catholic tradition was coined by Vincent of Lerinum in the crudest terms possible as “that which is believed everywhere, always and by all.” Yet it is not this hyperbolic claim to timelessness within history that holds center stage in this collection of essays. If anything, this study could be characterized as aiming at the opposite of hyperbole: the fragility, scatteredness, and multidimensionality of time beneath the surface of the literary Christian tradition.

Resulting as this volume does from a research project that took its cue from the Augustinian concept of temporality, it may make sense to sum up the reasons why it is Augustine who provides us with the tools to do jus-

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