Thanks for the suggestion. My mind is focusing on other issues at present. But here's a few thoughts.
1. The importance of recognizing that Synoptic interdependence may be also oral (I leave open whether mostly, as much or just a substantial proportion) is that it warns against the danger of over dependence on a literary paradigm - that is, opens us to the possibilities that variations in the tradition are the result of factors other than editing/redaction. My suspicion, borne out by the study I have thus far made
of the Synoptic tradition, is that analysis of difference has overwhelmingly been dominated by the assumptions of a literary culture. I would like to see more work done with a much more open mind on these questions, even if the outcome is far messier than a neat redactional hypothesis allows. It also seems to me that the currently strong Q paradigm has to be put under much closer scrutiny from this perspective.
2. For myself, I repeat what I have said several times in the discussion, that the chief goal for me is and always has been to make best sense of what we actually have before us in a Synopsis. It was the fact that my early embryonic recognition of the stable-core flexible-detail pattern dovetailed so well with Bailey's anecdotes when I first heard them in the 70s which drew me down this route. But Bailey's
anecdotes need to be subjected to more scientific research - if that's any more possible now that the villages he was familiar with no doubt now have TVs and age old oral traditioning techniques and patterns are being lost if not are already lost for ever.
3. What I might call the sociology of tradition has always been a large factor for me - its community forming, integrating, sustaining, boundary forming role. I would like to see more research on that. Too many of the variations offered to my hypothesis in the discussion seemed to me to work with a too individualistic model of the traditioning process. I certainly don't want to minimize the role of apostles
and eye-witnesses, but in my view that role has to be integrated more with the group dynamics of oral tradition.
4. The transition from Aramaic to Greek, from Palestine to the wider regions of the Roman Empire were pointed up as an area for careful study and reflection, of which I was well aware, and which I plan to undertake as my work on Christianity in the Making proceeds. The earlier recognition by Koester in particular that there were streams of oral tradition running alongside the written Gospels has to be integrated
into the larger picture, and not just in answer to the question, Which was the more original?
I hope this helps. Greetings from Durham,
Brian McCarthy wrote:
> Dear Prof Dunn,
> Many thanks for your original essay and for all the work you put into answering the various qq. and challenges that came in. My own impression is that you have opened up a whole area of investigation that needed to be opened up, and have done so in such a fashion that it wont easily be closed down again, despite the strong preference of scholars for staying focused on the relatively solid ground of written texts.
> Perhaps you would consider taking a little time to develop a closing statement that would formulate the main tasks that you now see you need to address, in the light of our discussions: reformulations/developments/extensions etc of your original positions.
> I think many of us would appreciate such a concluding statement against which we could test our own thinking about where things now stand.
> Brian McCarthy
> Madison WI
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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