Controlled Oral Tradition

Image result for early christian community"



My argument "Community as author" postulates that if we don;t know the individual authors of the gospels we can still look to the communities that produced the gospels as the authors because they contained not only the actual authors/redactors but many eye witnesses, to the events of Jesus' life. That involves a discussion of the role or oral tradition in the making of the gospels because it was oral tradition that persevered the testimony of the  eye witnesses in the gap between the events and the writing of the gospels. Modern liberal theology has given the name "form criticism" to this discussion.

Form criticism is a philosophy and methodology of Biblical criticism, "Criticism" in relation to the Bible does not mean talking about how bad the Bible is (too long and hard to understand) but refers to a means of analysis in a systematic sense. Form criticism seeks to analyze the historical development of the New Testament by understanding the forms in which the writing developed. The major scholars of that school were Rudolph Bultmann (1584-1976) and Martin Franz Dibelius (1883-1947). The from critics understood the Gospels as folk lore, their major paradigm for this view was the collection of German folk songs which were popular for intellectuals and poets in the 18th century.  They assumed the process was like that of European folklore. [1]

We can see the Folkloric model  is operative today.  In his discussion of oral tradition in the origins of Christianity Michael White speaks of the centrality of  "story telling."

Story telling was at the center of the beginnings of the Jesus movement. And I think we're right to call it the Jesus movement here because if we think of it as Christianity, that is, from the perspective of the kind of movement and institutional religion that it would become a few hundred years later, we will miss the flavor of those earliest years of the kind of crude and rough beginnings, the small enclaves trying to keep the memory alive, and more than that, trying to understand what this Jesus meant for them. That's really the function of the story telling...it's a way for them to articulate their understanding of Jesus. And in the process of story telling, when we recognize it as a living part of the development of the tradition, we're watching them define Jesus for themselves. At that moment we have caught an authentic and maybe one of the most historically significant parts of the development of Christianity.[2]
Yet White does not discount historical basis of the stories, He asserts that those aspects of the history that revitalized the movement would have been passed on. "It's rather clear from the way that the stories develop in the gospels that the Christians who are writing the gospels a generation after the death of Jesus are doing so from a stock of oral memory, that is, stories that had been passed down to probably by followers."[3]

Koester argues, however, that the historical memories are latter tropes, the latter generations reach back for the earlier memories while the first things to be enshrined  in oral traditions are doctrinal and related to the emotive aspects. 



Now what happens as an oral tradition arises about an historical event or an historical person is that, strangely enough, the first oral tradition is not an attempt to remember exactly what happened, but is rather a return into the symbols of the tradition that could explain an event. Therefore, one has to imagine that legend and myth and hymn and prayer are the vehicles in which oral traditions develop. The move into a formulated tradition that looks as if it was a description of the actual historical events is actually the end result of such a development. Only the later writer would bring a report about Jesus' suffering that has the semblance of the report of the actual events, one after another, that happened.[4]

His major example is the hymn on the Resurrected Christ In Philippians 2, Paul is reaching back to one of the earliest bits of church literary.[5] The  problem with such examples is that Paul was not trying to preserve or document the history of the community at that point he was using the hymn to make a rhetorical point. That proves nothing about the development of historical memory in oral tradition in the Gospels.The problem is that the development of for, criticism assumed a story telling mode; based European folklore. It doesn't even consider the way oral tradition was handled in ancinet Palestine. As Bauckham tells us: 

... The form critics at the beginning of the 20th century were working with probably the best models of oral tradition that were around at the time. But we now know a great deal more about oral tradition. They were reliant, mostly, on the way that folk tales were transmitted in European history. And of course, these are the kind of things that were passed down over centuries. It's a very different process, really, from the transmission of gospel traditions over a few decades in the New Testament period. Folk tales were also, by definition, fictional material, and people who passed on fictional material were often interested in creative development of it. They didn't feel bound to transmit material accurately. But we now know far more about oral tradition. We have studies of oral tradition from all societies all over the world, Africa and parts of Asia, and so forth, lots of data about how oral traditions work. And one of things we can say is… Actually, there is very little we can say about oral tradition in general.[6]
The first notion about oral tradition that needs to be discarded is the idea that it's like playing "the telephone game." Oral tradition is not wild rumors or randomly spread. It;s not like the so called "telephone game" because that game requires whispers and there are no  controls on what is said. There were most probably controls, because the Jews had a controlled version of oral tradition, through which the Torah was handed down.[7]

  This notion is basically alluded to by White: "So we have to imagine the followers of Jesus getting together around the dinner table probably and talking about their memories, maybe it was the memory of something he actually said once upon a time or maybe it was a glimpse of an image that they had of him."[8] What I am proposing is more formalist. The communal aspects of the early church often get remarked upon, the commune phrase, the communist phase of the gospel. The book of acts comments upon how that period played out: 

Acts 2:42-47 

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers. 43 Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 So they sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. 46 And every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added those being saved to them.
"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching," I have an image of Peter standing up among them and saying  today class we  are going to talk about Christian dating. Tomorrow we will cover voting Republican," It's very probable that memorizing some version of the account of the resurrection was part of  the Apostle's teachings.
Stephen Neil wrote  "No one is likely to deny that a tradition that is being handed on by word of mouth is likely to undergo modification. This is bound to happen, unless the tradition has been rigidly formulated and has been learned with careful safeguard against the intrusion of error" Neil adds in a fn: "This is exactly the way in which the tradition was handed on among the JewsIt is precisely on this ground that Scandinavian scholar H. Risenfeld in an essay entitled 'The Gospel Tradition and its Beginnings' (1957) has passed some rather severe strictures on the form cuticle method."[9] 
Oral tradition in first-century Judaism was not uncontrolled as was/is often assumed, based on comparisons with non-Jewish models. B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans  Authenticating the Activities of Jesus



...[T]he early form criticism tied the theory of oral transmission to the conjecture that Gospel traditions were mediated like folk traditions, being freely altered and even created ad hoc by various and sundry wandering charismatic jackleg preachers. This view, however, was rooted more in the eighteenth century romanticism of J. G. Herder than in an understanding of the handling of religious tradition in first-century Judaism. As O. Cullmann, B. Gerhardsson, H. Riesenfeld and R. Riesner have demonstrated, [22] the Judaism of the period treated such traditions very carefully, and the New Testament writers in numerous passages applied to apostolic traditions the same technical terminology found elsewhere in Judaism for 'delivering', 'receiving', 'learning', 'holding', 'keeping', and 'guarding', the traditioned 'teaching'. [23] In this way they both identified their traditions as 'holy word' and showed their concern for a careful and ordered transmission of it. The word and work of Jesus were an important albeit distinct part of these apostolic traditions. 

Luke used one of the same technical terms, speaking of eyewitnesses who 'delivered to us' the things contained in his Gospel and about which his patron Theophilus had been instructed. Similarly, the amanuenses or co-worker-secretaries who composed the Gospel of John speak of the Evangelist, the beloved disciple, 'who is witnessing concerning these things and who wrote these things', as an eyewitness and a member of the inner circle of Jesus' disciples.[24] In the same connection it is not insignificant that those to whom Jesus entrusted his teachings are not called 'preachers' but 'pupils' and 'apostles', semi-technical terms for those who represent and mediate the teachings and instructions of their mentor or principal.(corrosponding fn for Childton and evans")[10]

In his contribution to the Chilton book,  N.T. Wright says:


Communities that live in an oral culture tend to be story-telling communities. They sit around in long evenings telling and listening to stories--the same stories, over and over again. Such stories, especially when they are involved with memorable happenings that have determined in some way the existence and life of the particular group in question, acquire a fairly fixed form, down to precise phraseology (in narrative as well as in recorded speech), extremely early in their life--often within a day or so of the original incident taking place. They retain that form, and phraseology, as long as they are told. Each village and community has its recognized storytellers, the accredited bearers of its traditions; but the whole community knows the stories by heart, and if the teller varies them even slightly they will let him know in no uncertain terms. This matters quite a lot in cultures where, to this day, the desire to avoid 'shame' is a powerful motivation.
"Such cultures do also repeat, and hence transmit, proverbs, and pithy sayings. Indeed, they tend to know far more proverbs than the orally starved modern Western world. But the circulation of such individual sayings is only the tip of the iceberg; the rest is narrative, narrative with embedded dialogue, heard, repeated again and again within minutes, hours and days of the original incident, and fixed in memories the like of which few in the modern Western world can imagine. The storyteller in such a culture has no license to invent or adapt at will. The less important the story, the more the entire community, in a process that is informal but very effective, will keep a close watch on the precise form and wording with which the story is told.[11]
Oral tradition is a carefully controlled process. The Jews understood how to learn the words of their teachers and preserve them just as they were spoken. All oral cultures understand how to control the process."No one is likely to deny that a tradition that is being handed on by word of mouth is likely to undergo modification. This is bound to happen, [12] Neil adds in a fn: IT is precisely on this ground that Scandinavian scholar in an essay entitled "The Gospel Tradition and its Beginnings" (1957) has passed some rather severe strictures on the form critical method.[13] N. T. Wright, critiquing the Jesus Seminar's view of oral tradition as uncontrolled and informal based on some irrelevant research done in modern Western non-oral societies writes:"Against this whole line of thought we must set the serious study of genuinely oral traditions that has gone on in various quarters recently. [14]  Jerome Neyrey says,see also- Bruce Malina & Richard Rohrbaugh, - See also John Pilch, Jerome Neyrey, and David deSilva. [15]


A great review of oral transmission within the gospels can be found in James D.G. Dunn's Jesus Remembered. p. 192-210 is a useful review of the progress from the form critics to now, and from 210ff he makes some proposals about the synoptics and oral narratives.

Personally, I find the work of Birger Gerhardsson quite well done and would recommend the relatively small book The Reliability of the Gospel Tradition for those interested in early Christian oral transmission. Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony is very interesting and has opened (or in other cases, reopened) discussions.

For anyone interested, I think journal articles are probably easier to obtain, some of which do not require database access:



from the Dunn article above: Abstract

The literary mindset (‘default setting’) of modern Western culture prevents those trained in that culture from recognizing that oral cultures operate differently. The classic solution to the Synoptic problem, and the chief alternatives, have envisaged the relationships between the Gospel traditions in almost exclusively literary terms. But the earliest phase of transmission of the Jesus tradition was without doubt predominantly by word of mouth. And recent studies of oral cultures provide several characteristic features of oral tradition. Much of the Synoptic tradition, even in its present form, reflects in particular the combination of stability and flexibility so characteristic of the performances of oral tradition. Re-envisaging the early transmission of the Jesus tradition therefore requires us to recognize that the literary paradigm (including a clearly delineated Q document) is too restrictive in the range of possible explanations it offers for the diverse/divergent character of Synoptic parallels. Variation in detail may simply attest the character of oral performance rather than constituting evidence of literary redaction.





Sources


[1] Richard Bauckham, "A  Critique  of Form Criticism of The Gospels." Third Millennium Ministries, website,  no date listed.
http://thirdmill.org/answers/answer.asp/file/43180
(accessed 2/2/18)
these guys have video to down load



Richard Bauckham (M.A., Ph.D. Cambridge; F.B.A.; F.R.S.E) is a widely published scholar in theology, historical theology and New Testament.

[2] L. Michael White, "The Importance of Oral Tradition,"  Frontline:   Jesus to Christ. Originally an episode on a series on PBS, On line version published by PBS.org. oriignally puibloished 1998, online copywriter 2014.
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/oral.html (accessed 11/10/18)

White is Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin

[3] Ibid

[4] Helmutt Koester, Ibid,

Helmutt Koester (December 18, 1926-January 1, 2016) was:

John H. Morison Professor of New Testament Studies and Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History Harvard Divinity School


[5] Ibid

[6] Richard Bauckham, "A Critique of Form Criticism of The Gospels." op cit

[7]Howard Schwartz, Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, Oxford University Press, 2004. p lv

[8] Michael White, op cit.

[9] Stephen Neil, The Interpretation of the New Testament: 1861-1961, London: University of Oxford Press, 1964, 250. 

[10]B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans* (eds.), Authenticating the Activities of Jesus(NTTS, 28.2; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1998): 53-55.

Chilton and Evens foot notes:



22. O. Cullmann, "The Tradition," in Cullmann, The Early Church (London: SCM Press; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1956) 55-99; B. Gerhardsson The Origins of the Gospel Traditions (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979); H. Riesenfeld The Gospel Tradition (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1970) 1-29; Riesner, Jesus als Lehrer.
23. Rom 6:17; 16:17; 1 Cor 11:2, 23; 15:3; Phil 4:9; Col 2:6-7; 2 Thess
24. John 19:35; 21:24-25; cf. 13:23; 18:15-16; 19:26-27; 20:1-10; 21:7, 21-23. Cf. J. A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976) 298-311. 25. On parallels with other rabbis and their disciples and other Jewish usage cf. Mark 2:18 = Luke 5:33; K.H. Rengstorf TDNT 1 (1964) 412-43;.TDNT 4 (1967) 431-55.

[11] N.T. Wright, "Five Gospels But No Gospel,"Authenticating the Activities of Jesus,Netherlands: Knoinklijke Brill ed. Bruce D. Chilton, Craig A. Evans, 1999, 112-113 

[12] Stephen Neil op cit 250

[13] Ibid

[14] NT Wright, op cit, 112-113

He also sights

H. Wansbrough (ed.), Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition (JSNTSup 64; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991), referring to a large amount of earlier work; Bailey, "Informal Controlled Oral Tradition," 34-54. The following discussion depends on these and similar studies, and builds on Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, 418-43; and idem, Jesus and the Victory of God, 133-37.

[15]  Jerome Neyrey, "Group Orientation." Handbook of Biblical Social Values  John Pilch and Bruce Malina.   2000, 94-97.

Comments

The Pixie said…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wC8ChUa_CY
first of all that is not even relevant to the issue, C.S. Lewis' Trillima is not the issue before us why bring it up?

the atheists arguments suck
Anonymous said…
Just so you know, that was comment was not by me.

The argument seems to be that:

1 The Jews pasted on their oral tradition rigorously
2 Therefore ALL Jews were training in and competent at passing on an oral tradition, whether fisherman, tax collector or whatever
3 The earliest Christians were Jews
4 Therefore they could pass on oral tradition accurately and reliably

5 They regarded the SAYINGS as oral tradition
6 Therefore the SAYING were passed on accurately and reliably
7 Therefore the passion narrative was passed on accurately and reliably

Where your argument fails is 2 and 7 (though I am not sure if you are claiming 7). Why should we think it is so.

Pix
yes I argue 2 and 7 but not absolutely. I don;t claim there was no slippage or that all Jews absolutely memorized all the stuff But in large part they gotit right,.

I quoted several scholars affirming this in the above paper you have not touched them.
P.M. Head, “The Role of Eyewitnesses in the Formation of the Gospel Tradition”, Tyndale Bulletin vol. 52 no. 2, 2001, p. 275ff
*

Michael F. Bird, “The Purpose and Preservation of the Jesus Tradition”, B.B.R. 15.2, 2005, pp. 161-185.
*
, K.E. Bailey, “Informal Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels”, Themelios, vol. 20 no. 2, 1995, pp. 4-11.

*


[1] Richard Bauckham, "A Critique of Form Criticism of The Gospels." Third Millennium Ministries, website, no date listed.
http://thirdmill.org/answers/answer.asp/file/43180
(accessed 2/2/18)
these guys have video to down load
Answer by Dr. Richard J. Bauckham


Richard Bauckham (M.A., Ph.D. Cambridge; F.B.A.; F.R.S.E) is a widely published scholar in theology, historical theology and New Testament.

[2] L. Michael White, "The Importance of Oral Tradition," Frontline: Jesus to Christ. Originally an episode on a series on PBS, On line version published by PBS.org. oriignally puibloished 1998, online copywriter 2014.
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/oral.html (accessed 11/10/18)

White is Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin



[4] Helmutt Koester, Ibid,

Helmutt Koester (December 18, 1926-January 1, 2016) was:

John H. Morison Professor of New Testament Studies and Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History Harvard Divinity School



[7]Howard Schwartz, Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, Oxford University Press, 2004. p lv



[9] Stephen Neil, The Interpretation of the New Testament: 1861-1961, London: University of Oxford Press, 1964, 250.

[10]B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans* (eds.), Authenticating the Activities of Jesus(NTTS, 28.2; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1998): 53-55.

Chilton and Evens foot notes:


22. O. Cullmann, "The Tradition," in Cullmann, The Early Church (London: SCM Press; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1956) 55-99; B. Gerhardsson The Origins of the Gospel Traditions (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979); H. Riesenfeld The Gospel Tradition (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1970) 1-29; Riesner, Jesus als Lehrer.
23. Rom 6:17; 16:17; 1 Cor 11:2, 23; 15:3; Phil 4:9; Col 2:6-7; 2 Thess
24. John 19:35; 21:24-25; cf. 13:23; 18:15-16; 19:26-27; 20:1-10; 21:7, 21-23. Cf. J. A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976) 298-311. 25. On parallels with other rabbis and their disciples and other Jewish usage cf. Mark 2:18 = Luke 5:33; K.H. Rengstorf TDNT 1 (1964) 412-43;.TDNT 4 (1967) 431-55.

[11] N.T. Wright, "Five Gospels But No Gospel,"Authenticating the Activities of Jesus,Netherlands: Knoinklijke Brill ed. Bruce D. Chilton, Craig A. Evans, 1999, 112-113





[14] NT Wright, op cit, 112-113

He also sights

H. Wansbrough (ed.), Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition (JSNTSup 64; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991), referring to a large amount of earlier work; Bailey, "Informal Controlled Oral Tradition," 34-54. The following discussion depends on these and similar studies, and builds on Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, 418-43; and idem, Jesus and the Victory of God, 133-37.

[15] Jerome Neyrey, "Group Orientation." Handbook of Biblical Social Values John Pilch and Bruce Malina. 2000, 94-97.





James .D.G. Dunn, “Altering the Default Setting: Re-envisaging the Early Transmission of the Jesus Tradition”, New Testament Studies. vol. 49, 2003, pp. 139-175.
Anonymous said…
http://www.answering-christianity.com/scholars_refute.htm

Pix
That link does not stand up to the 20 some odd sources I used. My sources are real scholars ,that source yours is merely an ignorant apologist. His information is a hundred years out of date,

He tries to immune oral tradition by asserting with how evidence the bad transmission of Islam or he thinks the contraction Christians are in of assertion bad transmission of Muslims disproves oral tradition for Christians, That's stupid.

"The problem with oral transmission, however, is that by its very nature, it can be open to corruption as it has no written formula or documentation with which it can be corroborated and tested. Thus it can be manipulated depending on the agenda of the orator."

stupid in no way does that prove the Jews had bad oral tradition.
really man that link is so stupid,he thinks Koine Greek means the Holy Spirit has bad gramar, it doesn't even occur to him that inspiration dose erase the mode of self expression of the author. You should read my post on Biblical inspiration on the other blog.


the nature of Biblical imspiration part 1
Anonymous said…
If a post is just a web address then it is not me, even if it says it is!

Joe: I quoted several scholars affirming this in the above paper you have not touched them.

I do not think those quotes say what you think they do.

White says: "And in the process of story telling, when we recognize it as a living part of the development of the tradition, we're watching them define Jesus for themselves." This indicates the story changed; that is what "development of the tradition" means.

Koester says it more clearly: "Therefore, one has to imagine that legend and myth and hymn and prayer are the vehicles in which oral traditions develop." That is quite the opposite of a tightly controlled oral tradition.

The last line of your Bauckham quote states that you cannot generalise about oral tradition: "Actually, there is very little we can say about oral tradition in general." That is, just because the Jewish priests of that time passed on a tightly controlled oral tradition it in no way implies that the early Christians did likewise. That you think the Bauckham quote supports your position really just shows how much you missed the point of it.

Your quote of Chilton and Evans does support your claim, but appears to be based on the fact that the early Christians used the same terminology as the Jewish priesthood. Fisherman and tax collectors were trained very differently to priests; to suppose they could pass on oral tradition any better than your or I is ridiculous. But it is quite reasonable to suppose they were familiar with the terminology.

The Wright quote again is at least in support of your position, but really just says the opposite of Bauckham. Bauckham says we cannot generalise; Wright says oral traditions are all alike. Who is right?

Wright further says: "Each village and community has its recognized storytellers, the accredited bearers of its traditions; but the whole community knows the stories by heart, and if the teller varies them even slightly they will let him know in no uncertain terms. This matters quite a lot in cultures where, to this day, the desire to avoid 'shame' is a powerful motivation." The fact that the gospels are all different shows that actually story-tellers DID change the stories, so we know Wright is wrong about the early Christians - or do you want to claim that writers specifically were free to change stories how they like?

Pix
White says: "And in the process of story telling, when we recognize it as a living part of the development of the tradition, we're watching them define Jesus for themselves." This indicates the story changed; that is what "development of the tradition" means.

Koester says it more clearly: "Therefore, one has to imagine that legend and myth and hymn and prayer are the vehicles in which oral traditions develop." That is quite the opposite of a tightly controlled oral tradition.

You assert that develop means change, There's no reason to assume that. Part of doing oral tradition is understanding that one preserves the truth. one passes on what happened,developing that does not have to mean changing it.

The last line of your Bauckham quote states that you cannot generalise about oral tradition: "Actually, there is very little we can say about oral tradition in general." That is, just because the Jewish priests of that time passed on a tightly controlled oral tradition it in no way implies that the early Christians did likewise. That you think the Bauckham quote supports your position really just shows how much you missed the point of it.

You assert the meaning of that Bauckham is not a lobber he doesn't fill it out that way. That is rally the opposite of his view.

Your quote of Chilton and Evans does support your claim, but appears to be based on the fact that the early Christians used the same terminology as the Jewish priesthood. Fisherman and tax collectors were trained very differently to priests; to suppose they could pass on oral tradition any better than your or I is ridiculous. But it is quite reasonable to suppose they were familiar with the terminology.

You don't know how they were trained, you have no concept of what is involved.

The Wright quote again is at least in support of your position, but really just says the opposite of Bauckham. Bauckham says we cannot generalise; Wright says oral traditions are all alike. Who is right?

Bauckham is a believer, his whole point in being a scholar is to support the Christian faith. He made his rep tearing down form criticism. he argues for the validity of oral tradition as preserving the truth of the early events,you are merely displaying your ignorance in trying to turn him into liberal.

Wright further says: "Each village and community has its recognized storytellers, the accredited bearers of its traditions; but the whole community knows the stories by heart, and if the teller varies them even slightly they will let him know in no uncertain terms. This matters quite a lot in cultures where, to this day, the desire to avoid 'shame' is a powerful motivation." The fact that the gospels are all different shows that actually story-tellers DID change the stories, so we know Wright is wrong about the early Christians - or do you want to claim that writers specifically were free to change stories how they like?

As usual you totally distort the facts to support your position. that quest essential says everyone knew the basic facts and did not change. The four gospels are incredibly in agreement on the basic facts, all people have their perspective you can easily tell the same story in different ways without changing the facts,
Anonymous said…
Joe: You assert that develop means change, There's no reason to assume that. Part of doing oral tradition is understanding that one preserves the truth. one passes on what happened,developing that does not have to mean changing it.

Okay, if you are going to pretend words have new meanings that suit your argument, you can "prove" anything you want. In the real world, "develop" implies change.

Joe: You assert the meaning of that Bauckham is not a lobber he doesn't fill it out that way. That is rally the opposite of his view.

Bauckham is clear that you cannot generalise about oral tradition. That is the point of the passage you quoted.

Joe: You don't know how they were trained, you have no concept of what is involved.

True, but that does not affect my point. It does not matter what the training consisted of; the point is that the priests were trained, the fishermen and tax collectors were not.

Joe: Bauckham is a believer, his whole point in being a scholar is to support the Christian faith. He made his rep tearing down form criticism. he argues for the validity of oral tradition as preserving the truth of the early events,you are merely displaying your ignorance in trying to turn him into liberal.

So when Bauckham agrees with me, an atheist, that gives extra support to my case.

Maybe he makes another argument elsewhere; I do not know, I have not read his books, but what you quoted says you cannot generalise about oral tradition.

Joe: As usual you totally distort the facts to support your position. that quest essential says everyone knew the basic facts and did not change. The four gospels are incredibly in agreement on the basic facts, all people have their perspective you can easily tell the same story in different ways without changing the facts,

The authors of Luke and Matthew had Mark in front of them as they wrote, so of course they agree "incredibly"!

The point is that they felt free to add to that text, to modify it. This utterly destroys the claim that a story-teller would be shamed if he dared to change anything. Far from being shamed, the Gospel of Matthew became the most popular version!

Pix
Anonymous said…
A further issue with regards to the passion is who decided what is part of the oral tradition?

For the sayings, that is not a problem. If Jesus said it, it should be included. A clear rule. For the passion, is it Peter's account? How about John's? Is Mary's account considered oral tradition? Did Peter always recount the events in the same way? Should we suppose he considered his own witness account to be "oral tradition", and so he recited it exactly the same at every telling? I find that very unlikely.

Furthermore, take a look at the start of Luke. He is not claiming to be recording the story "as is", he is not just setting down the oral tradition; this is what he has determined by research. It is a compilation of stories circulating in the community. Maybe some were preserved by the controls of an oral tradition, but we have no reason to suppose they all were - and that the author makes no suggestion that that was the case leads me to think that was not the case.

Take a specific case, one we discuss a lot - the guard on the tomb. Is there any reason to suppose that was part of the oral tradition? The fact that it is absent from three of the gospels very much suggests it was not. That it was included in Matthew indicates that material that was not part of the oral tradition was included - or that new stories were added to the oral tradition as late as AD 70.

Pix
Joe: You assert that develop means change, There's no reason to assume that. Part of doing oral tradition is understanding that one preserves the truth. one passes on what happened,developing that does not have to mean changing it.

Okay, if you are going to pretend words have new meanings that suit your argument, you can "prove" anything you want. In the real world, "develop" implies change.

are you really seriously trying to deny that the purpose of oral tradition was to preserve an understanding of evens? Baht is seriously ignorant! the whole concept was to preserve.

Joe: You assert the meaning of that Bauckham is not a lobber he doesn't fill it out that way. That is rally the opposite of his view.

Bauckham is clear that you cannot generalise about oral tradition. That is the point of the passage you quoted.


you don;t know what he means by that

Joe: You don't know how they were trained, you have no concept of what is involved.

True, but that does not affect my point. It does not matter what the training consisted of; the point is that the priests were trained, the fishermen and tax collectors were not.

sure I don't know what I'm talking about but that does not affect my point, o brother!

Joe: Bauckham is a believer, his whole point in being a scholar is to support the Christian faith. He made his rep tearing down form criticism. he argues for the validity of oral tradition as preserving the truth of the early events,you are merely displaying your ignorance in trying to turn him into liberal.

So when Bauckham agrees with me, an atheist, that gives extra support to my case.

you are taking what he said out of context

Maybe he makes another argument elsewhere; I do not know, I have not read his books, but what you quoted says you cannot generalise about oral tradition.

you are taking it out of context trying to make it mean something it doesn't mean

Joe: As usual you totally distort the facts to support your position. that quest essential says everyone knew the basic facts and did not change. The four gospels are incredibly in agreement on the basic facts, all people have their perspective you can easily tell the same story in different ways without changing the facts,

The authors of Luke and Matthew had Mark in front of them as they wrote, so of course they agree "incredibly"!

that's irrelevant,they repeating things recited to the community for decades anay way But Matthew and Luke had different versions of Mark.Mark did not have matthew or luke

The point is that they felt free to add to that text, to modify it. This utterly destroys the claim that a story-teller would be shamed if he dared to change anything. Far from being shamed, the Gospel of Matthew became the most popular version!

No they did not,They kept within guide lines
A further issue with regards to the passion is who decided what is part of the oral tradition?

the 12

For the sayings, that is not a problem. If Jesus said it, it should be included. A clear rule. For the passion, is it Peter's account? How about John's? Is Mary's account considered oral tradition? Did Peter always recount the events in the same way? Should we suppose he considered his own witness account to be "oral tradition", and so he recited it exactly the same at every telling? I find that very unlikely.

that invokes the way oral tradition is formulated. So you repeat the same stuff in certain bioinformatic expressions. The fact that we don't know all the contributors doesn;t mean they didn't have a systematic means of recording and closing off teachings.


Furthermore, take a look at the start of Luke. He is not claiming to be recording the story "as is", he is not just setting down the oral tradition; this is what he has determined by research. It is a compilation of stories circulating in the community. Maybe some were preserved by the controls of an oral tradition, but we have no reason to suppose they all were - and that the author makes no suggestion that that was the case leads me to think that was not the case.

It is true gospels are more than just recitation but that doesn't mean they are following guidelines,

Take a specific case, one we discuss a lot - the guard on the tomb. Is there any reason to suppose that was part of the oral tradition? The fact that it is absent from three of the gospels very much suggests it was not. That it was included in Matthew indicates that material that was not part of the oral tradition was included - or that new stories were added to the oral tradition as late as AD 70.

we have two indigent soirees on the guards and both are as old as the gospels.
Anonymous said…
Joe: are you really seriously trying to deny that the purpose of oral tradition was to preserve an understanding of evens? Baht is seriously ignorant! the whole concept was to preserve.

Of course it was. The issue is how tightly controlled it was; what safeguards were in place to prevent fictional rumours getting accepted.

Joe: you don;t know what he means by that

He means what is true in one case cannot be assumed to be true in another. The fact that the Jewish priesthood had a controlled oral tradition DOES NOT imply the oral tradition of the early Christians was also tightly controlled.

Joe: sure I don't know what I'm talking about but that does not affect my point, o brother!

I never said I do not know what I am talking about, I said I did not know what the training of the priests involved. Your argument would look better if you were not obliged to twist my words to score a cheap point.

Joe: you are taking what he said out of context

Joe: you are taking it out of context trying to make it mean something it doesn't mean

Oh, the old "out of context" cop out. That would be more convincing if you were able to state what meaning I was claiming and comparing it to the meaning in context. We both know you cannot do that because your accusation is entirely vacuous.

Joe: that's irrelevant,they repeating things recited to the community for decades anay way

Sure, but were those things part of a formalised oral tradition? Was it tightly controlled? You offer no reason to think it was.

Joe: But Matthew and Luke had different versions of Mark.Mark did not have matthew or luke

The point is that even the written tradition was pretty fluid.

Joe: No they did not,They kept within guide lines

They by-and-large preserved the original text, but clearly freely added to it. This is why Luke and Matthew are significantly longer than Mark. But what this means is that anything not in Mark is suspect, because it was probably not part of the tradition in AD 70.

Joe: the 12

You know that how? Did they sit around listening to stories, and then vote on whether to include it in the oral tradition?

You are claiming they knew how to do this because they were Jewish; do you think this is what the Jewish priesthood did? That was certainly not the case for Jesus' time, as the priests oral tradition was well-established. So what was their precedent for such a thing?

Joe: that invokes the way oral tradition is formulated. So you repeat the same stuff in certain bioinformatic expressions. The fact that we don't know all the contributors doesn;t mean they didn't have a systematic means of recording and closing off teachings.

I am not expecting you to say exactly who contributed what, butI do expect you to propose a plausible scenario for the process.

For example, why should we think fishermen and tax collectors were proficient at contriving bioinformatic expressions? How many priests at that time were trained in the construction of an oral tradition? I would guess none were, because their oral tradition was static. And yet you think the peasants from Galilee could do it?

Joe: It is true gospels are more than just recitation but that doesn't mean they are following guidelines,

What is your point?

Joe: we have two indigent soirees on the guards and both are as old as the gospels.

According to Brown - the scholar you habitually cite - we have a single source that two gospels draw on, and that single source made it up.

Pix
Anonymous said...
Joe: are you really seriously trying to deny that the purpose of oral tradition was to preserve an understanding of evens? Baht is seriously ignorant! the whole concept was to preserve.

Of course it was. The issue is how tightly controlled it was; what safeguards were in place to prevent fictional rumours getting accepted.

right

Joe: you don;t know what he means by that

He means what is true in one case cannot be assumed to be true in another. The fact that the Jewish priesthood had a controlled oral tradition DOES NOT imply the oral tradition of the early Christians was also tightly controlled.

Yes (1)It was not limited just to priests it was done with students of teachers. they did not have to be priests. (2) The early christians did not see themselves as another religion,they understood themselves as the proper version of the same faith. it's wrong to think no connection

Joe: sure I don't know what I'm talking about but that does not affect my point, o brother!

I never said I do not know what I am talking about, I said I did not know what the training of the priests involved. Your argument would look better if you were not obliged to twist my words to score a cheap point.

Oral tradition was not a special secret technique practiced only by priests.

Joe: you are taking what he said out of context

Joe: you are taking it out of context trying to make it mean something it doesn't mean

Oh, the old "out of context" cop out. That would be more convincing if you were able to state what meaning I was claiming and comparing it to the meaning in context. We both know you cannot do that because your accusation is entirely vacuous.

You have no basis for the assertions that only priests did oral tradition and one had to have special training to do it. Or that Christians saw themselves as seperate from Judasism

Joe: that's irrelevant,they repeating things recited to the community for decades anay way

Sure, but were those things part of a formalised oral tradition? Was it tightly controlled? You offer no reason to think it was.

since they were all brought up doing it it was extremely likely.

Joe: But Matthew and Luke had different versions of Mark.Mark did not have matthew or luke

The point is that even the written tradition was pretty fluid.


all of those versions keep the same basic set of facts


Joe: No they did not,They kept within guide lines

They by-and-large preserved the original text, but clearly freely added to it. This is why Luke and Matthew are significantly longer than Mark. But what this means is that anything not in Mark is suspect, because it was probably not part of the tradition in AD 70.


that is an unfounded assumption and it contradicts the basic assumption of textual criticism. Textual critics assume they would never just invent stuff out of thin air.That is the basis for saying Mark came first. Originally they assumed Mark was condensed on the assumption that it would not be made up. Then they got wise to the notion that Matt has other sources so he was making things up but combining other spruces.

Joe: the 12

You know that how? Did they sit around listening to stories, and then vote on whether to include it in the oral tradition?

the evolution reflected in Acts is that the 12 set the pace then fanned out thorough world and left the Jerusalem elders to be the umpires. Paul writes like he had to answer to the Jerusalem elders and James.

You are claiming they knew how to do this because they were Jewish; do you think this is what the Jewish priesthood did? That was certainly not the case for Jesus' time, as the priests oral tradition was well-established. So what was their precedent for such a thing?


all students repeated and memorize their rabbi's teaching,that was their pedagogy


Joe: that invokes the way oral tradition is formulated. So you repeat the same stuff in certain bioinformatic expressions. The fact that we don't know all the contributors doesn;t mean they didn't have a systematic means of recording and closing off teachings.

I am not expecting you to say exactly who contributed what, but I do expect you to propose a plausible scenario for the process.

For example, why should we think fishermen and tax collectors were proficient at contriving bioinformatic expressions? How many priests at that time were trained in the construction of an oral tradition? I would guess none were, because their oral tradition was static. And yet you think the peasants from Galilee could do it?

you are trying to make it into some secret high tech knowledge only the elite understood. That is true we can see this from the phrase modern shoals use to depict it "culture," "an oral culture." it was practiced by the culture as a whole, it was their pedagogy.



Joe: It is true gospels are more than just recitation but that doesn't mean they aren't following guidelines,

What is your point?

oral tradition was not a secret high tech solution only priests could handle they were all memorizing
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael White speaks of the centrality of "story telling."
"Story telling was at the center of the beginnings of the Jesus movement. And I think we're right to call it the Jesus movement here because if we think of it as Christianity, that is, from the perspective of the kind of movement and institutional religion that it would become a few hundred years later, we will miss the flavor of those earliest years of the kind of crude and rough beginnings, the small enclaves trying to keep the memory alive, and more than that, trying to understand what this Jesus meant for them. That's really the function of the story telling...it's a way for them to articulate their understanding of Jesus. And in the process of story telling, when we recognize it as a living part of the development of the tradition, we're watching them define Jesus for themselves. At that moment we have caught an authentic and maybe one of the most historically significant parts of the development of Christianity."



As Bauckham tells us:
... The form critics at the beginning of the 20th century were working with probably the best models of oral tradition that were around at the time. But we now know a great deal more about oral tradition. They were reliant, mostly, on the way that folk tales were transmitted in European history. And of course, these are the kind of things that were passed down over centuries. It's a very different process, really, from the transmission of gospel traditions over a few decades in the New Testament period. Folk tales were also, by definition, fictional material, and people who passed on fictional material were often interested in creative development of it. They didn't feel bound to transmit material accurately. But we now know far more about oral tradition. We have studies of oral tradition from all societies all over the world, Africa and parts of Asia, and so forth, lots of data about how oral traditions work. And one of things we can say is… Actually, there is very little we can say about oral tradition in general



Stephen Neil wrote "No one is likely to deny that a tradition that is being handed on by word of mouth is likely to undergo modification. This is bound to happen, unless the tradition has been rigidly formulated and has been learned with careful safeguard against the intrusion of error" Neil adds in a fn: "This is exactly the way in which the tradition was handed on among the Jews. It is precisely on this ground that Scandinavian scholar H. Risenfeld in an essay entitled 'The Gospel Tradition and its Beginnings' (1957) has passed some rather severe strictures on the form cuticle method."

B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans Authenticating the Activities of Jesus:

..[T]he early form criticism tied the theory of oral transmission to the conjecture that Gospel traditions were mediated like folk traditions, being freely altered and even created ad hoc by various and sundry wandering charismatic jackleg preachers. This view, however, was rooted more in the eighteenth century romanticism of J. G. Herder than in an understanding of the handling of religious tradition in first-century Judaism. As O. Cullmann, B. Gerhardsson, H. Riesenfeld and R. Riesner have demonstrated, [22] the Judaism of the period treated such traditions very carefully, and the New Testament writers in numerous passages applied to apostolic traditions the same technical terminology found elsewhere in Judaism for 'delivering', 'receiving', 'learning', 'holding', 'keeping', and 'guarding', the traditioned 'teaching'. [23] In this way they both identified their traditions as 'holy word' and showed their concern for a careful and ordered transmission of it. The word and work of Jesus were an important albeit distinct part of these apostolic traditions.


Luke used one of the same technical terms, speaking of eyewitnesses who 'delivered to us' the things contained in his Gospel and about which his patron Theophilus had been instructed. Similarly, the amanuenses or co-worker-secretaries who composed the Gospel of John speak of the Evangelist, the beloved disciple, 'who is witnessing concerning these things and who wrote these things', as an eyewitness and a member of the inner circle of Jesus' disciples.[24] In the same connection it is not insignificant that those to whom Jesus entrusted his teachings are not called 'preachers' but 'pupils' and 'apostles', semi-technical terms for those who represent and mediate the teachings and instructions of their mentor or principal.(corrosponding fn for Childton and evans")



N.T. Wright says:


Communities that live in an oral culture tend to be story-telling communities. They sit around in long evenings telling and listening to stories--the same stories, over and over again. Such stories, especially when they are involved with memorable happenings that have determined in some way the existence and life of the particular group in question, acquire a fairly fixed form, down to precise phraseology (in narrative as well as in recorded speech), extremely early in their life--often within a day or so of the original incident taking place. They retain that form, and phraseology, as long as they are told. Each village and community has its recognized storytellers, the accredited bearers of its traditions; but the whole community knows the stories by heart, and if the teller varies them even slightly they will let him know in no uncertain terms. This matters quite a lot in cultures where, to this day, the desire to avoid 'shame' is a powerful motivation.
"Such cultures do also repeat, and hence transmit, proverbs, and pithy sayings. Indeed, they tend to know far more proverbs than the orally starved modern Western world. But the circulation of such individual sayings is only the tip of the iceberg; the rest is narrative, narrative with embedded dialogue, heard, repeated again and again within minutes, hours and days of the original incident, and fixed in memories the like of which few in the modern Western world can imagine. The storyteller in such a culture has no license to invent or adapt at will. The less important the story, the more the entire community, in a process that is informal but very effective, will keep a close watch on the precise form and wording with which the story is told
Anonymous said…
Sloppy research, Sloppy Joe. You need to read serious scholarship like the Jesus Seminar. Get your facts straight.
Jesus seminar is full of shit
Anon you are coward or you would make real charges instead of this heckling bullshit. You know zip about research.
Anonymous said…
You are full of shit. I can smell it coming out of my computer screen even as you talk. There are no real scholars or scientists that support Christianity or your ancient scriptures. You teaming up with that stupid religious fundamentalist blogger shows just how much credibility you lack.
Anonymous said…
Bad News About Christianity is another great source blowing you out of the water
Anonymous said...
You are full of shit. I can smell it coming out of my computer screen even as you talk. There are no real scholars or scientists that support Christianity or your ancient scriptures. You teaming up with that stupid religious fundamentalist blogger shows just how much credibility you lack.

first of all saying stuff like "I can smell it from here" is not an argument.No saying that Jesus seminar is full of shit they area pubic entity so are open to criticism.although I guess I should not say that I wont say that anymore,, I ill make more serious and intelligent criticisms. But you are making a personal attack against a board poster which is violation of the rules. This is your only warning if you keep it up I will ban you.

Your statement that scholars and scientists are never believers is wrong is pure rubbish, it is not true There more believing scientists than not. In
This link There is a list of nobel winvers in science who are Christians and other scholars.

Pie chart on this page shows 40% or scientists are Christkans. ony about 17% are atheists.
that you point out that propaganda sheet as am example of real rehears just shows us you have no concept of real research, you think ideology is science.

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