Tradition, with its ritual element, is a way of recapturing the past for a while, often in the company of others with a shared set of traditions. The values and ethics in our Human Faith model emphasize growth, expansion and testing limits. Tradition offers an occasional break from that, for a restorative breath.
Histories of traditions:
- John Bentley, Herbert Ziegler and Heather Streets Salter, Traditions & Encounters: A Brief Global History (McGraw Hill Education, 4th Edition, 2015).
- Nepia Muhalka, Rethinking Oral History and Tradition: An Indegenous Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2019).
- Jan M. Vansina, Oral Tradition as History (James Curley, 1985).
- A.N. Wilson, The Elizabethans (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012): on influential Brits who created a culture steeped in tradition and, simultaneously, in innovation.
- William Theodore de Bary and Irene Bloom, eds., Sources of Chinese Tradition (Columbia University Press, 2nd edition, 1999): From Earliest Times to 1600 (Volume 1); From 1600 Through the Twentieth Century (Volume 2).
- William Theodore de Bary, Carol Gluck and Arthur Tiedermann, eds., Sources of Japanese Tradition (Columbia University Press, 2nd edition, 2002): Volume 1: From Earliest Times to 1600; Volume 2: 1600 to 2000.
- Ainslie Thomas Embree, Stephen H. Hay and William Theodore de Bary, eds., Sources of Indian Tradition(Columbia University Press, 2nd edition 1988): Volume 1: From the Beginning to 1800; Volume 2: Modern India and Pakistan.
- William Theodore de Bary and Peter H. Lee, eds.,Sources of Korean Tradition (Columbia University Press, 2nd edition, 1996): Volume 1: From Early Times Through the Sixteenth Century; Volume 2: From the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Centuries.
- George Dutton, Jayne Werner and John Whitmore, eds., Sources of Vietnamese Tradition (Columbia University Press, 2012).
- Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Matthew Kapstein and Gray Tuttle, eds., Sources of Tibetan Tradition (Columbia University Press, 2013).
- William Theodore de Bary, ed., Sources of East Asian Tradition, Volume 1: Premodern Asia (Columbia University Press, 2008).
- William Theodore de Bary, ed., Sources of East Asian Tradition, Volume I1: The Modern Period (Columbia University Press, 2008).
- Marvin Perry, Sources of the Western Tradition, Volume 1: From Ancient Times to the Enlightenment (Cengage Learning, 10th edition, 2018)
- Marvin Perry, Sources of the Western Tradition, Volume II: From Renaissance to the Present (Cengage Learning, 10th edition, 2018).
- Neils Peter Lemche, The Israelites in History and Tradition (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998).
Film and Stage
- The Rules of the Game, (La règle du jeu) in whichJean Renoir takes on social conventions.
- Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, suggestingthat some social conventions are deeply rooted
- The Go-Between, a film about “a culture where social standing defines every relationship”
- Two English Girls (Les deux Anglaises et le continent), on romanceand social convention
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Judaic culture is especially associated with tradition. I have selected two forms of music that represent aspects of that culture, broadly defined: Klezmer music, which emphasizes celebration of tradition, and music of the Sephardic Jews, which emphasizes reverence for it. Klezmer music is widely available from many sources. Music of Sephardic Jews is represented on disc by a group called The Renaissance Players, which has released albums called “Thorns of Fire”, “Apples and Honey”, “Gazelle and Flea” and “Eggplants”. See also:
- Early Klezmer, 1908-1927
- The Chicago Klezmer Ensemble
- Kaschauer Klezmer Band
- Romanian Klezmer Tour, 2011
- Giora Feidman, “The Magic of Klezmer”
- David Krakauer
- Simon Trpčeski, “Makedonissimo”
Hamdi Benani was an Algerian singer and instrumentalist whose style and well expresses the musical traditions of his culture. He sang as though he was telling his people’s story. His albums include:
- “Nuba Nova”, with Mehdi Haddab & Speed Caravan
- “Ouyoune lehbara”
- “Jani ma jani”
- “Madhat: Sidi Brahim”
- “Ainine lahbara”
- “Belahia hamami”
- “Tahya bikoum”
- “Ana ladl saèfeya”
- “Ya landra eche keteb fel jbine”
- “El Ouard”
- “Hobi ghda be zain”
Drawing on tradition does not imply a slavish or single-minded adherence to it. As creative artists, musicians routinely layer their individual lives atop their traditions, to produce new music. Here are a few examples of that.
- BKO, “Djine Bora” (2022): Mande music from Mali infused with dance-ready rock
- Shadi Fathi & Bijan Chemirani, “Âwât” (2002): traditional Persian music, featuring Fathi on setar, with hints of contemporary influence; the album title means “great desire”
- Holst, Suites for Band (No. 1 in E-flat Major; No. 2 in F Major), reflecting British customs and traditions
- Foss, Adon Olom, on the interconnectedness of tradition
- Janáček, Jenůfa: an operatic tragedy of social conventions (performances conducted by Bolton, Mackerras and Pastorkyňa)
- Schnittke, Suite in the Old Style (1972)
Albums, from various musical traditions:
- Various artists, “Hanin: Field Music in Syria 2008/2009”
- On “LAS” (2022), bagpipers Ross Ainslie and Brìghde Chambeul team with guitarist and drummer Steven Byrnes to create joyful Scottish music on the most traditional of Scottish instruments.
- John McCusker is one of many artists whose music expresses fine aspects of tradition. His music touches on values including home, belonging and longing, always with a traditional Irish flavor. A compilation album, “The Best of John McCusker” (2023) (139’), makes the point.
- William Wordsworth, “Young England – What Is Then Become of Old”
- David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Winter Counts: A Novel (Ecco, 2020): justice is in short supply on an Indian reservation steeped in history and tradition.