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Re: [J_D_G_DunnSeminar] Sequence and selection

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  • Daniel Grolin
    Dear Prof. Dunn, Since Jeffrey has encouraged more posts I will throw caution to the wind and write a second post. In response to my issue with an oral
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 29, 2001
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      Dear Prof. Dunn,

      Since Jeffrey has encouraged more posts I will throw caution to the wind
      and write a second post.

      In response to my issue with an oral collection you stated:

      <The weakness of your alternative scenario is the implied assumption that
      the sort of occasion you envisage is the only time Jesus tradition would
      be brought into play. But I have already referred to Moule's reminder of
      the various life-settings in which the tradition would be used and
      transmitted. As you will also have seen from the paper, the more/equally
      typical scene I envisage is that of regular congregational gatherings in
      which particularly (a) teacher(s) would be responsible for rehearsing some
      of the Jesus tradition. My guess, on the basis of 'clusters' like Mark
      2.18ff., is that material was grouped for such occasions.>

      I looked through the paper and found very little material on Moule's
      "various life-settings in which the tradition would be used and
      transmitted". I can accept the possibility of collection of oral tradition
      in a teaching situation. That is precisely what Birger Gerhardsson
      proposes. The situation I proposed will work with a single recitation
      because of its "singleness" (for lack of a better word). To recollect is a
      process of reversal. If I were the young Christian man who had asked about
      fasting or had been present when he had asked the question, the question
      itself would become an important part of the chain of recollection. Next I
      would recollect the solution or the interpretation of the saying. I would
      remember that the reason we don't fast is because that my community is so
      blissful about Jesus' presence that it cannot fast. How did it go? Jesus
      was like the bridegroom and we were like his bridegroom friends. And how
      can the bridegroom's friends fast when he was with them?

      A scenario as suggested by Gerhardsson has repetition as a means of
      wresting the saying from a particular context and drilling it into an oral
      textuality. In this mode of learning collection becomes possible.

      If a teacher recites two sayings, I would need some reason to keep these
      two sayings together, they would need to relate to each other in my mind,
      in the way I understood them. Otherwise there will merely be two unrelated
      interpretations and no "glue". The two sayings can not have the exact same
      interpretation and be unpacked into their unique formulations.

      I don't know what your teaching experiences are, but if you can get your
      pupils to recollect sayings that they don't know (have not read before),
      which are unrelated after a week then your experience is very different
      from mine. My own experiment included both a parable (of my own devising)
      a small aphorism and a paragraph from a Gnostic text (which I was certain
      was unknown to my pupils). Overall the result was unimpressive, but not at
      all surprising. The two first text were recoverable, the third wasn't. The
      variations on the two first sayings illustrated the process that I
      outlined above, the sayings were extracted from how the pupils had
      understood the original sayings.

      So what are you proposing? Is it repetition?

      In response to my issue with oral reflection of the community you wrote:

      <As to your second question. I see performance as both respecting the
      stability of the tradition and varying its presentation in particular
      performance. I assume also that the tradition itself has had a formative
      effect on the community. So performace of tradition is not an act of
      pure creativity (we would have to talk further if you were thinking more
      of prophecy), and audience respect for the tradition will have beena
      factor in their response ('censor' is your words).>

      Agreed. The community does not only "censor" they also modify themselves
      to accord with the tradition they respect. That is why the young Christian
      man will chose to not fast despite pressures from the neighbour. Still
      does that not mean that oral traditions are very descriptive of the
      communities that transmit them? This most be so particularly if the oral
      transmission is occasional or event triggered.

      Regards,

      Daniel
    • Meta Dunn
      Dear Daniel, Apologies for the delay in replying - I had server problems for 48 hours - but all seems OK now. True, I didn t make much of Moule; I pointed out
      Message 2 of 11 , May 2, 2001
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        Dear Daniel,
        Apologies for the delay in replying - I had server problems for 48 hours -
        but all seems OK now.
        True, I didn't make much of Moule; I pointed out that his concern was the
        way the tradition became the Gospels; I will make more of the whole process
        in a later phase of my work; just now I'm focusing on the beginning of the
        process.
        Your illustrations are fine, except (1) they envisage the process as a
        more individual recollecting, whereas I emphasise the community dimension, and
        (2) are you taking enough account of the fact that the traditioning process as
        an oral exercise would inevitably fare more developed than your own
        experiments with a class in today's long-established literary world? So, not
        repetition, but teaching and story with elements of stability and variableness
        such as we see in the Synoptics still to this day.
        And yes, transmission would have included elaboration and change of
        direction; we see that in points of detail, as well as in larger issues (Paul
        and the divorce logion in 1 Cor 7, and the labourer worthy of his hire logion
        in 1 Cor 9), and policy matters (mission to the Gentiles, despite Mt 10.5).
        I think my 'model' takes all that in.
        Thanks for continuing the dialogue.
        Jimmy Dunn

        Daniel Grolin wrote:

        > Dear Prof. Dunn,
        >
        > Since Jeffrey has encouraged more posts I will throw caution to the wind
        > and write a second post.
        >
        > In response to my issue with an oral collection you stated:
        >
        > <The weakness of your alternative scenario is the implied assumption that
        > the sort of occasion you envisage is the only time Jesus tradition would
        > be brought into play. But I have already referred to Moule's reminder of
        > the various life-settings in which the tradition would be used and
        > transmitted. As you will also have seen from the paper, the more/equally
        > typical scene I envisage is that of regular congregational gatherings in
        > which particularly (a) teacher(s) would be responsible for rehearsing some
        > of the Jesus tradition. My guess, on the basis of 'clusters' like Mark
        > 2.18ff., is that material was grouped for such occasions.>
        >
        > I looked through the paper and found very little material on Moule's
        > "various life-settings in which the tradition would be used and
        > transmitted". I can accept the possibility of collection of oral tradition
        > in a teaching situation. That is precisely what Birger Gerhardsson
        > proposes. The situation I proposed will work with a single recitation
        > because of its "singleness" (for lack of a better word). To recollect is a
        > process of reversal. If I were the young Christian man who had asked about
        > fasting or had been present when he had asked the question, the question
        > itself would become an important part of the chain of recollection. Next I
        > would recollect the solution or the interpretation of the saying. I would
        > remember that the reason we don't fast is because that my community is so
        > blissful about Jesus' presence that it cannot fast. How did it go? Jesus
        > was like the bridegroom and we were like his bridegroom friends. And how
        > can the bridegroom's friends fast when he was with them?
        >
        > A scenario as suggested by Gerhardsson has repetition as a means of
        > wresting the saying from a particular context and drilling it into an oral
        > textuality. In this mode of learning collection becomes possible.
        >
        > If a teacher recites two sayings, I would need some reason to keep these
        > two sayings together, they would need to relate to each other in my mind,
        > in the way I understood them. Otherwise there will merely be two unrelated
        > interpretations and no "glue". The two sayings can not have the exact same
        > interpretation and be unpacked into their unique formulations.
        >
        > I don't know what your teaching experiences are, but if you can get your
        > pupils to recollect sayings that they don't know (have not read before),
        > which are unrelated after a week then your experience is very different
        > from mine. My own experiment included both a parable (of my own devising)
        > a small aphorism and a paragraph from a Gnostic text (which I was certain
        > was unknown to my pupils). Overall the result was unimpressive, but not at
        > all surprising. The two first text were recoverable, the third wasn't. The
        > variations on the two first sayings illustrated the process that I
        > outlined above, the sayings were extracted from how the pupils had
        > understood the original sayings.
        >
        > So what are you proposing? Is it repetition?
        >
        > In response to my issue with oral reflection of the community you wrote:
        >
        > <As to your second question. I see performance as both respecting the
        > stability of the tradition and varying its presentation in particular
        > performance. I assume also that the tradition itself has had a formative
        > effect on the community. So performace of tradition is not an act of
        > pure creativity (we would have to talk further if you were thinking more
        > of prophecy), and audience respect for the tradition will have beena
        > factor in their response ('censor' is your words).>
        >
        > Agreed. The community does not only "censor" they also modify themselves
        > to accord with the tradition they respect. That is why the young Christian
        > man will chose to not fast despite pressures from the neighbour. Still
        > does that not mean that oral traditions are very descriptive of the
        > communities that transmit them? This most be so particularly if the oral
        > transmission is occasional or event triggered.
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        > Daniel
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > J_D_G_DunnSeminar-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
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        >
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      • Daniel Grolin
        Dear Prof. Dunn, You wrote
        Message 3 of 11 , May 3, 2001
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          Dear Prof. Dunn,

          You wrote
          <Your illustrations are fine, except (1) they envisage the process as a
          more individual recollecting, whereas I emphasise the community
          dimension,>

          Granted. I expect that the community memory is different from individual
          memory, in that the community assists in assuring flexible and inflexible
          elements in the tradition. It also increases total storage capacity (6000
          traditions!).

          <and (2) are you taking enough account of the fact that the traditioning
          process as an oral exercise would inevitably fare more developed than your
          own experiments with a class in today's long-established literary world?>

          No, I certainly would expect people from an oral culture to perform much
          better in such a test. However, the memory of modern men are not
          essentially not worse than pre-modern men. We have passwords, telephone
          numbers, etc. that we must remember. Academics have host of textual memory
          that tax them. What I found more interesting, however, was what the
          experiment showed me about the process of recollection. That process I
          think is universal and applicable as much in the past as it is today.

          <So, not repetition, but teaching and story with elements of stability and
          variableness such as we see in the Synoptics still to this day.>

          My problem is that your line of argument comes from looking, not at the
          nature of oral memory (communal or otherwise), but from looking at the end
          product (i. e. the text of the Gospels). I see nothing in what you have
          presented from Kenneth Bailey that suggest this tendency.

          There are two of the texts that you mention that I think could plausibly
          be aggregated in its oral stage:

          The first is the beatitudes. We know from Thomas that they have existed
          separate. However, they have qualities that I think sufficient to argue an
          oral union. 1) They are applicable to largely the same situation without
          saying the same thing. 2) They are have the same form and one needs just
          remember the antithetical promises (poor-kingdom, hungry-feed, etc.). In
          this case placing them together may even help remembering the sayings. Yet
          even after being assembled I can imagine them used by themselves as
          proverbs for appropriate occasions.

          The mission statement, which explained the itinerant prophet's lifestyle.
          This had to be learnt and drilled in because it was a set of rules that
          were a constant in every day of the itinerant. Unlike other lifestyle
          teachings, these seem to have been a complete counter-social set of
          teachings. Each time a new itinerant joined, a fix set of teachings were
          taught.

          So, to qualify my reservations: In general I think collection is a process
          of textuality (as suggested by Kelber), however, there are cases in which
          I think collection makes sense. The exceptions I have noted I think have
          particular qualities that distinguish them from other oral traditions.

          Regards,

          Daniel
        • Meta Dunn
          Dear Daniel, Apologies for the delay in replying - had to take a couple of days off on family business (including seeing my daughter in a tremendous
          Message 4 of 11 , May 6, 2001
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            Dear Daniel, Apologies for the delay in replying - had to take a couple of
            days
            off on family business (including seeing my daughter in a tremendous
            performance of Sondheim's A Little Night Music in Leicester.
            Do you really think the parallels you suggest represent the reality of a
            community which lives entirely by oral memory and rehearses its tradition on a
            regular basis to confirm and affirm its identity?
            With respect to Bailey, I would suggest one of the strengths of my
            proposal is that Bailey's model (if we may speak of it so) matches the
            character of the Jesus tradition; there is an important element of mutual
            confirmation, or the suggested beginning and continuation of the process
            fitting so well into what we can still see to be its end product.
            It certainly allows for elaboration, aggregation and various other
            performance and transmission variations. And are we in danger of
            exaggerating the fixity and fullness of the mission commission material? its
            combination of stability and variableness, including the two commissions in
            Luke 9 and 10, fits well with my model.
            Thanks again,
            Jimmy Dunn

            Daniel Grolin wrote:

            > Dear Prof. Dunn,
            >
            > You wrote
            > <Your illustrations are fine, except (1) they envisage the process as a
            > more individual recollecting, whereas I emphasise the community
            > dimension,>
            >
            > Granted. I expect that the community memory is different from individual
            > memory, in that the community assists in assuring flexible and inflexible
            > elements in the tradition. It also increases total storage capacity (6000
            > traditions!).
            >
            > <and (2) are you taking enough account of the fact that the traditioning
            > process as an oral exercise would inevitably fare more developed than your
            > own experiments with a class in today's long-established literary world?>
            >
            > No, I certainly would expect people from an oral culture to perform much
            > better in such a test. However, the memory of modern men are not
            > essentially not worse than pre-modern men. We have passwords, telephone
            > numbers, etc. that we must remember. Academics have host of textual memory
            > that tax them. What I found more interesting, however, was what the
            > experiment showed me about the process of recollection. That process I
            > think is universal and applicable as much in the past as it is today.
            >
            > <So, not repetition, but teaching and story with elements of stability and
            > variableness such as we see in the Synoptics still to this day.>
            >
            > My problem is that your line of argument comes from looking, not at the
            > nature of oral memory (communal or otherwise), but from looking at the end
            > product (i. e. the text of the Gospels). I see nothing in what you have
            > presented from Kenneth Bailey that suggest this tendency.
            >
            > There are two of the texts that you mention that I think could plausibly
            > be aggregated in its oral stage:
            >
            > The first is the beatitudes. We know from Thomas that they have existed
            > separate. However, they have qualities that I think sufficient to argue an
            > oral union. 1) They are applicable to largely the same situation without
            > saying the same thing. 2) They are have the same form and one needs just
            > remember the antithetical promises (poor-kingdom, hungry-feed, etc.). In
            > this case placing them together may even help remembering the sayings. Yet
            > even after being assembled I can imagine them used by themselves as
            > proverbs for appropriate occasions.
            >
            > The mission statement, which explained the itinerant prophet's lifestyle.
            > This had to be learnt and drilled in because it was a set of rules that
            > were a constant in every day of the itinerant. Unlike other lifestyle
            > teachings, these seem to have been a complete counter-social set of
            > teachings. Each time a new itinerant joined, a fix set of teachings were
            > taught.
            >
            > So, to qualify my reservations: In general I think collection is a process
            > of textuality (as suggested by Kelber), however, there are cases in which
            > I think collection makes sense. The exceptions I have noted I think have
            > particular qualities that distinguish them from other oral traditions.
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Daniel
            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            > J_D_G_DunnSeminar-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            > To contact the List Owner, send an e-mail to:
            >
            > J. D_G_DunnSeminar-owner@yahoogroups.com
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
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