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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Social Memory and Social Identity in the Study of Early Judaism and Early Christianity
Byrskog, Samuel, Raimo Hakola and Jutta Maria Jokiranta, editors

Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016 pp. 311. €110.00

Series Information
Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus/Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments, 116


Description: The concepts of social memory and social identity have been increasingly used in the study of ancient Jewish and Christian sources. In this collection of articles, international specialists apply interdisciplinary methodology related to these concepts to early Jewish and Christian sources. The volume offers an up-to-date presentation of how social memory studies and socio-psychological identity approach have been used in the study of Biblical and related literature. The articles examine how Jewish and Christian sources participate in the processes of collective recollection and in this way contribute to the construction of distinctive social identities. The writers demonstrate the benefits of the use of interdisciplinary methodologies in the study of early Judaism and Christianity but also discuss potential problems that have emerged when modern theories have been applied to ancient material.In the first part of the book, scholars apply social, collective and cultural memory approaches to early Christian sources. The articles discuss philosophical aspects of memory, the formation of gospel traditions in the light of memory studies, the role of eyewitness testimony in canonical and non-canonical Christian sources and the oral delivery of New Testament writings in relation to ancient delivery practices. Part two applies the social identity approach to various Dead Sea Scrolls and New Testament writings. The writers analyse the role marriage, deviant behaviour, and wisdom traditions in the construction of identity in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Other topics include forgiveness in the Gospel of Matthew, the imagined community in the Gospel John, the use of the past in Paul’s Epistles and the relationship between the covenant and collective identity in the Epistle to the Hebrews and the First Epistle of Clement.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism, Early Church Origins, Social-Scientific Approaches, Sociology

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Review by Jonathan Draper
Published 12/1/2017
Citation: Jonathan Draper, review of Samuel Byrskog, Raimo Hakola, and Jutta Maria Jokiranta, eds., Social Memory and Social Identity in the Study of Early Judaism and Early Christianity, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2017).


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