Liturgy as a Form of Cultural Memory
Part of the 2007-2008 Liturgy Symposium
Institute of Sacred Music Great Hall, 409 Prospect Street, New Haven
Refreshments for mind, body, and spirit will be served.
Free and open to the public.
The church in its daily liturgy remembers the one who is its origin, presence and the hoped future, that is, it remembers Jesus Christ. Viewed from that perspective, it functions culturally as a community that nurtures and is nurtured by a particular form of a complex and liturgically enacted memory. My question is whether the conceptual apparatus developed in the study of collective memory, especially the concept of cultural memory as recently introduced by Aleida and Jan Assmann, can be productively used in liturgical studies to describe the structure and function of this form of complex memory. I will examine potential contributions and possible limitations of interpreting the liturgy as a medium of cultural memory. In this context I will focus particularly on the concept of cultural memory, but will also analyze the distinctions between ritual and everyday life, between textuality and orality, and the role of memory sites in the formation of cultural memory. I the conclusion, I will try to show that the distinction between functional memory, which is connected to the concrete bearers, and storage memory, which does not require such bearers, can help clarifying the distinction and connection between liturgy and liturgics (liturgical studies).
Ivica Novakovic is visiting lecturer in religion and culture at Yale. Professor Novakovic studied physics, sociology, philosophy, and theology in Croatia, Switzerland, and the USA. His work is informed by these cultural contexts and he addresses transcultural and interdisciplinary questions, particularly those of theological rationality (Theology: Speculative or Combinatorial? 2004) and religious imagination (“Work on Symbols”). He has lectured in the areas of philosophical theology, systematic theology, contempoprary theology, and the theology of culture (“Doing Theology in the Media Age”). More recently, he has focused his research on the problem of conceiving God’s presence and the modes of its representation and communication in music, images, and words. He is particularly interested in exploring how the sense of God’s presence can be presented in the contemporary world, where many religions and cultures meet in the context of conflict, and how it can provide a resource for reconciliation and broadening the vision of human flourishing.