Baker Academic

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Shoah and Typology - Le Donne

My thanks to James McGrath for pointing me to this interesting article in the NYT. Notice the multiple levels of typology present. The Exodus is linked in cultural memory to the Shoah (Holocaust), but there is still a need for mnemonic reinforcement. Notice also that it is an external memory cue that functions as the artifact of memory. In other words, the tattoo serves as way to extend memory from autobiographical remembrance to cultural commemoration. This is a topic of central interest in my research on memory and typology in the Gospels.

But this article is worth a read for several reasons. Like a good friend of mine says: "Until the Holocaust means as much for Christians as it does for Jews, we must continue to talk about it."



  1. BTW: Uriel Sinai for The New York Times, left; Uriel Sinai/Reportage by Getty Images.

  2. Wow - does this ever put tattooing in a different focus.

    re memory and typology in the Gospels - have you considered the tension between singular and plural in the TNK? Especially in contrast to the singular 'individual'.

    Since translating the psalms and several other bits and pieces of Scripture over the last 6 years, I have been impressed at how the individual speaks for the community. Singular and plural are not as important as I first imagined and as North American society (and particularly some Christian teaching) would have us believe. Yet the individual remains important since the one stands for the many especially in times of trouble - which is most of the time. There are dangerous torrents and depths even in the promised land (Deuteronomy 8:7). Here the congregation is addressed as if it was one person. In Psalms 42-43 (compare 44) the individual speaks as if one person. Similarly Lamentations 3 in contrast to Lam 1 and 2.

    Memory is of course a significant theme in the Psalms - both for the individual (Psalm 6, 38) and the corporate body (Psalm 137). Israel as example (written for our learning) probably fits into your typology theme as well.

  3. This fascinates me on several levels. The chief reason being that my conception of Social Memory (borrowing from Aleida Assmann and her husband Jan) emphasizes the intersections between autobiographical memories and cultural commemoration. This is controversial among Social Memory theorists as some would have us believe that autobiographical memories matter very little once they have been incorporated into the collective. My point is that there is a continuous (and mutually informative) flow from autobiographical spurs and constraints to collective spurs and constraints and vice versa. Moreover, every last bit of this process (including both personal memories and collective commemorative activities) are "social" in nature in large part due to the perception shaping aspects of language. So your point about the relationship between singular and plural in TNK interest me greatly.

    thank you!

    ps. didn't check the above for typos and I don't plan to.

  4. You might be interested in a quote from one of the holocaust survivors about memory and reality. I noticed it in the photo gallery of survivors linked on the site:

    “I often wonder if my happy childhood memories are authentic representations of reality,” she said, "or if reality is actually what I went through in Auschwitz. At the end of the day, I guess they both are real.” - Sophia Zoka Levi

    Substitute "reality" for "history," and you have a very interesting case study in memory perception.

  5. Indeed! And I don't even think you need the substitute.