Justice for All
 Church in Decline
 Striking Similarity
 The Efficacy of Prayer
 Are You Ready for Change?
 A Question of Vocation
 The Challenge of Change
 Elul 24
 Elul 23
 Elul 22

Series [All]
 Elul 5777 (9)
 Exploring Translation Theories (25)
 Live Like You Give a Damn
 Memory and Identity
 The Creative Word (19)
 The Cross-Cultural Process (7)
 The Old Testament is Dying
 The Oral Gospel Tradition (4)
 We the People (8)


Monday, 30 May 2016

Framing the Question II

Memory and Identity in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity,
Tom Thatcher ed., SBL, 2014, page 165-166

How did Kelber's work change things? According to Keith, Kelber demonstrated that the assumed inevitability of the tradition from oral to written gospel tradition was not, in fact inevitable. More, he asserts that:

... the assumed inevitable and organic nature of this transition was incongruent with a predominantly oral early Christian culture.

Kelber's two main points are:

  1. oral and written tradition are different: they have different dynamics of transmission and different social contexts in which they operate, differences perhaps highlighted for Kelber by the performative nature of oral tradition.
  2. if most early Christians were illiterate, what need had they of a written text? Plainly, the taking of notes and the cultivation of writig was a world away from the lifestyle of these prophetic transmitters of Jesus' sayings.

By pointing to the difference between oral and text traditions and the essentially oral culture of the first Christians, Keith exlains, Kelber framed the enduring question: Why did Mark write a Gospel?

Why did a written text emerge in an illiterate culture that had functioned well with the Jesus stories in an oral medium? What necessitated the medium transition?

Posted By Jonathan, 8:07am Comment Comments: