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Title: From one generation to another : the Passover as collective memory
Author: Short, Mark Graham
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis seeks to provide a fresh perspective on the nature and function of the Old Testament Passover by considering how it shaped and transmitted Israel's collective memory. In this context, special attention is paid to the work of Jan Assman, who argues that the Ancient Near East in general and Israel in particular underwent a transition from ritual repetition to textual interpretation as the primary medium of cultural memory. This model is tested by a detailed exegesis of the Passover texts in Exodus 12-13, Deuteronomy 16 and 2 Chronicles 30 and 35. It is concluded that there is not a general tendency for text to displace rite so far as the Old Testament Passover is concerned. A better framework for understanding the distinctive contribution of each text is the relationship between ritual resemblance (mimesis) and oral or written explanation (catechesis). The thesis explores how these two features of Passover observance interact to shape Israel's memory of her past and her communal identity in the present. Exodus 12-13 portray Israel as a people belonging to YHWH by virtue of the deliverance from Egypt, Deuteronomy 16 recalls the memory of the departure from Egypt as a motivation for Torah observance and Chronicles portrays Israel as an organised cultic community gathered at the temple to petition YHWH to bring an end to national captivity. If there is a trajectory in Old Testament Passover texts it is found in the textualisation of catechesis. In the first instance the Passover's significance is explained alongside the rite itself. However, over time a developing body of authoritative texts provides an everwidening canonical context within which the Passover can be practised and interpreted. The thesis concludes by considering how its findings provide the basis for exploring other Old and New Testament themes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Old Testament Philosophy Religion