I was reading an article about the bible the other day, and what I gathered to be the writers intent was that the end result was an accumulation of many times retold and translated stories. Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that, but…
It sort of relates to another story I read years ago and re-enacted with a few friends to check its veracity. What happens is the first person is given the correct story, then having memorized it, relates it to the second and then along a chain of ten people.
The story related by the tenth person, when compared to the original, had only part’s of the original story and for some reason new elements that somehow were misinterpretations of original story elements.
This perhaps could be put down to the individuals upbringing and background, which always gets used in the interpretation of what they are told. We all use different methods to remember things and this will always impact how we interpret and relate information.
It’s also the same when three different eyewitnesses to an accident will rarely agree on the details. Certain elements will be the same, but others will not.
A case in point, when individual family members recall events involving all of them, each will remember seminal events differently, and usually, from their perspective, it will revolve around where they perceive they fit in the family hierarchy. A stronger brother or sister will always see it differently to a weaker one.
My childhood memories are basically different to my brothers, and I suspect those events that he fails to recall are deliberately cast away because either they didn’t affect him, or there were so horrible, he deliberately cast them out.
We all tend to do that. Some memories he has of the so-called old days I have no recollection of. But in saying that, sometimes I learn something new, that he had remembered, or I had forgotten, so there’s a slight shift in the narrative.
So it seems to me memories are, in one respect, a choice, and in another, what we can remember at the time. We often choose to remember the good ones and cast out the bad. Sometime we might embellish an incident, others we might gloss over it.
Was that the case of when it finally came to putting the biblical story down on paper (or in stone as the case may be), it was an amalgam of similar stories told a number of times, each relating it according to their memories and, perhaps, storytelling abilities?
However we look at it, remember it, or relate it, the old days, the days of yesteryear will always be different each time we speak about them. Until, of course, until someone finally commits the story to paper.