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Book: Restoring the Chain of Memory

Chapter: Knowledge, Tradition and Authority

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.34398


Chapter nine returns to the discussion introduced in chapter two where religion was restricted to an authoritative tradition that is preserved and transmitted from generation to generation and in which Indigenous Religions are defined as traditions that are bound to ancestors and that operate in strictly delineated geographical locations. It is argued that the research presented in this book on Strehlow and the contemporary repatriation of knowledge movement confirm the author’s theoretical starting-points and encourage an empathetic understanding of Indigenous Religions in Central Australia in ways consistent with the principles advocated by the phenomenology of religion. This is followed by a discussion of two remaining fundamental issues relevant to the themes discussed in the prior chapters: types of knowledge and the relationship between tradition and modernity. The book concludes with the contention that the collected work of T.G.H. Strehlow functions not only as a dynamic source for Indigenous communities as they respond creatively and positively to the changing circumstances occurring within Australian society but also that his extensive research in Central Australia, although concluded more than fifty years ago, can make a significant contribution to contemporary global studies in Indigenous Religions.

Chapter Contributors

  • James Cox ( - jamescox) 'University of Edinburgh'