Both Judaism and Christianity are communities bound by rituals of commemoration. At significant moments of gathering, each community reaffirms its identity in the present by calling to mind images and words from the past. The rise of modernity, however, has significantly altered the intellectual and social contexts in which Jews and Christians gather for prayer. During the past hundred years, both groups have been engaged in a creative dialogue with the historical disciplines, and these conversations have significantly altered their respective approaches to theological and religious language. Modernity has undermined a naive conjunction between memory and ritualization and challenged the validity of memory grounded in the authority of divine revelation.
The essays and responses in this important volume reflect a unique effort to respond to the disjunction between history and memory that has developed in the modern period. They affirm both the difficulty and the desirability of joining history and memory.