Several days ago I posted some excerpts from Anthony Le Donne’s Historical Jesus: What Can We Know and How Can We Know It? (see here) Here are some more statements that caught my eye:

“The first perceptions of Jesus were shaped by the external spurs and constraints unique to his historical context.”

(p. 23). Kindle Edition.

“Memory is the impression left by the past, not the preservation of it. In memory, we do not re-experience the past. What we experience is the impact left by the past.”

(pp. 24-25). Kindle Edition.

“External environments prompt the memories required to operate within them.”

(p. 29). Kindle Edition.

“History, as a discipline of knowledge, is not what happened in the past, it is an accounting of how the past was remembered and why. To confuse these is to confuse the very nature of the historian’s task.”

(p. 34). Kindle Edition.

“As remembrancer, the historian conveys to his audience what he believes is important for them to remember. In turn, the remembering community (the family, society, subculture, religious group, partisans, etc.) responds to the historical memory by accepting, rejecting, or ignoring it.”

(p. 35). Kindle Edition.

“The more significant a memory is, the more interpreted it will become. The great figures, moments, movements, and shifts of history will ever be shaped and reshaped by new interpretative contexts. History makes new impact with every telling. With every telling history is impacted.”

(p. 37). Kindle Edition.

“The uninterrupted past does not have beginnings, ends, transitional motifs, plot twists, and climaxes. These are elements that the historian projects and imposes upon the past to form a narrative worth telling.”

(p. 40). Kindle Edition.

“…when something is understood, it must be compared with a previously known category.”

(p. 57). Kindle Edition.

If you are wanting to think through issues of memory, interpretation, history proper, and the task of the historian, this is a great book to get you going. I’ve enjoyed it a lot and I am about half way through.