Archival memory, authenticity, and community. A comparative study of the archive and Eucharist

Redhead, Adele (2021) Archival memory, authenticity, and community. A comparative study of the archive and Eucharist. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The celebration of the Eucharist rests on the dominical command to ‘do this in remembrance of me’. This is a comparative study in memory and authenticity in archival practice, and the theory and the historical and contemporary practice and theology of the Eucharist.

This thesis examines the two roles of archivist and priest, and argues that the ways in which the archivist relates to their archive can be advanced by looking at the approach of the priest to the celebration of the Eucharist. This thesis will also contend that by doing so we can shed new light on archival theory of memory and authenticity within their community.

Both the archivist and the priest place importance on memory and the ways in which they play a part in maintaining, preserving, and promoting memory. The congregation in the church and the users of the archive depend on them as figureheads and key participants in the preservation of the memory of their community. The nature of this memory and the ways in which the two roles of the archivist and priest contribute towards it over time are explored and analysed in order to be able to advance the archival theory.

Authenticity is a more difficult concept to try to apply to both the archival and religious spheres. This thesis will firstly look at what it means to the archivist, and then what it might mean to the priest, before finally looking at how the archivist’s perception of authenticity can be informed by religious practice.

This study will be accomplished by looking at the archival theory of authenticity and memory against several case-studies which are important in the religious world. Saint Hippolytus of Rome is used to explore the way in which the priest can be seen to act almost as an archivist, by creating a written record of an act which was executed many times, involving many different groups of people, to the same template. The nature of the record itself, theories of archives and performance, and the move from an oral culture to a ‘recorded’ one are all investigated to allow the role of the archivist to be better understood. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer is used to further this analysis, and to explore in more depth the relationship of the written record to an act which both informs it and is informed by it. The approach whereby both the record and the act itself can be linked to memory is relevant in this section of this study, and the contrasting ways that both the archivist and the priest view this link between the act and memory is established and analysed to enable the archival theory to be interrogated in a different way. The role of the religious community in the celebration of the Eucharist is introduced, and the importance of the Eucharist as an act to preserve and promote memory is looked at through the lens of archival theory in this context. Other smaller case studies are used to introduce community and what it means for the priest, and how this can be set against the role of the archivist.

Finally, the examination of the role of the community to the study of archival theory of both memory and authenticity is further explored through an analysis of religious communities active in Scotland today. This section contains three smaller case studies where the approach and values of the appointed priest towards their role in the celebration of the Eucharist is sought through interviews and further informed by an analysis of their denomination’s published materials which cover memory, community, and the celebration of the Eucharist. This is then used to revisit the archival theories of memory and authenticity, and to establish how these theories can be advanced.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CD Diplomatics. Archives. Seals > CD921 Archives
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Information Studies
Supervisor's Name: Jasper, Professor David and Currall, Dr. James and Anderson, Dr. Ian
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82544
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2021 09:58
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2021 10:05
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82544

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