Memory and Early Monastic Literary Practices

A Cognitive Perspective

Authors

  • Hugo Lundhaug University of Oslo

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jch.v1i1.98

Keywords:

cognition, memory, early Monastic communities

Abstract

This article argues that certain important aspects of the institutionalized literary practices of early cenobitic monasticism and the rhetorics related to them may be significantly illuminated by insights from the cognitive study of the human mind and its relationship with the world. Using examples from our sources of early cenobitic monasticism in Egypt, specifically writings from the Pachomian federation and Shenoute of Atripe, this article suggests ways in which cognitive perspectives on memory and literature may shed light on the practices of reading, memorizing, and interpreting authoritative texts, and the corresponding need to control such practices, in the early monastic communities. In doing so, this article argues for the importance of keeping both individual and collective processes of memory in mind if we want to understand the influence of the mechanics of human memory systems on the ideas and practices of the early monastic communities, and suggests ways in which such perspectives may be combined.

Author Biography

Hugo Lundhaug, University of Oslo

Hugo Lundhaug is Associate Professor of Biblical Reception and Early Christian Literature at the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, Norway. He has published on early Christianity, monasticism and cognitive theory. His recent works include Images of Rebirth: Cognitive Poetics and Transformational Soteriology in the Gospel of Philip and the Exegesis on the Soul (Brill, 2010) and various articles on Shenoute of Atripe and the Nag Hammadi Codices. He is principal investigator of the ERC project New Contexts for Old Texts: Unorthodox Texts and Monastic Manuscript Culture in Fourth- and Fifth-Century Egypt (NEWCONT).

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Published

2014-01-23

How to Cite

Lundhaug, H. (2014). Memory and Early Monastic Literary Practices: A Cognitive Perspective. Journal of Cognitive Historiography, 1(1), 98–120. https://doi.org/10.1558/jch.v1i1.98

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