Wednesday, 1 June 2016
Memory and Identity in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity,
Tom Thatcher ed., SBL, 2014, page 167
Prof Keith picks up the story of Mark's transition from oral to written text:
In light of the predominantly oral/illiterate nature of early Christianity, Kelber is entirely correct that the writing of Mark demands an explanation, even though his own original explanation does not enjoy wide acceptance. I suggest here, however, that Kelber's original proposal has proven unpersuasive partly because it ignored almost entirely the textual and artifactual dynamics of Mark's act.
Kelber, Keith suggests, had been thinking entirely about orality and the way that - even now as a text - Mark's gospel continues to reveal its oral heritage. Kelber's book had almost no discussion about the 'book culture into which Mark moved the tradition'. Kelber didn't do textuality. Keith comments:
This wide-angle perspective rooted in orality led Kelber to fail to consider at least two important matters: what a manuscript contributes to the transmission process; and the explosion of 'Gospel' literature that came in the wake of Mark's Gospel.
Keith is going on to speak about the first in more detail.