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Old Testament Essays

versión On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versión impresa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.25 no.3 Pretoria  2012


Prosthetic memory in the Old Testament



James Alfred Loader

University of Vienna and University of Pretoria





In the OT "remembering" often denotes the experience of reliving special events of the past and thereby making them virtually present. Several texts are advanced in an argument that, where remembering is aided by an external sign or symbol, its function is not necessarily limited to the prevention of forgetting but also to stimulate constructive mental action. It is proposed to interpret this with the help of the thesis of "prosthetic memory" put forward by Alison Landsberg for the visual arts. The visual aid does not only prevent knowledge of the past to fade away, but positively stimulates new interpretive action. It is shown that this nuance is combined with the idea of education where prosthetic memory occurs in the OT. It is proposed that the purpose of these prostheses to memory is the pertinent interpretation of Torah and educational instructions as well as their translation into acts appropriate to new contexts.



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Prof. Dr. James Alfred Loader
Faculty of Theology, University of Vienna, Schenkenstrasse 8-10, A-1010 Vienna.
Professor Extraordinarius in the Department of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
P.O. Box 392, Unisa, 0003, and in the Department of Ancient Languages and Cultures as well as the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria

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