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Béla Hamvas’s Concept of Authentic Tradition in European Context

Mester, Béla
Filozofia, 2020, vol. 75, No 1, pp. 28-39.
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A basic element of Béla Hamvas’s philosophy of crisis is an experiment for the reconstruction of the authentic tradition. Hamvas’s concept of tradition has significant parallelism with Karl Jaspers’ theory of axial age. This paper offers an analysis of the parallelism between Hamvas’s ideas about the sacred books as fragments of the unwritten ancestral tradition of the humankind and Jaspers’ theory about the foundations of the unity of humankind in the works written in the axial age. Assmann’s theory of cultural memory will be used in the present writing as a theoretical frame of this comparison. By the hypothesis of this paper, a common element in the topics of German and Hungarian thinkers is the transition of the cultural memory from the ritual to the textual coherence, clarified by Assmann’s theory. In the last part of this paper it will be exemplified that Hamvas’s endeavour for the canonisation of the unwritten ancestral tradition in written form by his commented edition of Confucius’ Lunyu.

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