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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621

Abstract

LOADER, James Alfred. Prosthetic memory in the Old Testament. Old testam. essays [online]. 2012, vol.25, n.3, pp. 583-597. ISSN 2312-3621.

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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