Re: [J_D_G_DunnSeminar] Oral traditioning
- Dear John Staton,
Apologies for the delay in replying - I had server problems for 48 hours -
but all seems OK now.
Thanks for the suggestion. I have Seamus Heaney by my bedside but am deep
in something else at the moment (bedtime reading). But I'll make a point of
reading his Intro.
"John E. Staton" wrote:
> Dear Professor Dunn,
> I am sorry I do not know of any studies specifically of oral traditioning in
> Anglo-Saxon or Celtic societies. I was writing an article on Columba and
> Wilfrid (on my website), and studied the legends, culture, and history of
> these people as background. The books I consulted were mainly general
> history books which dealt with some of these matters in passing. One work
> which might be of some use, however, is Seamus Heaney's translation of
> Beowulf, which has a good introduction.
> Sorry I cannot be of more help
> Best Wishes
> JOHN E STATON
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Meta Dunn" <meta.dunn@...>
> To: <J_D_G_DunnSeminar@yahoogroups.com>
> Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001 7:49 PM
> Subject: Re: [J_D_G_DunnSeminar] Oral traditioning
> > Dear John Staton,
> > Thanks for a very helpful parallel. Are there technical studies in
> > area which it would be worth my while consulting? Discussion hitherto
> > depended overmuch on the Yugoslavian sagas of Lord etc. So something
> > home' in the Anglo-Saxon traditions would be very welcome.
> > Thanks again.
> > Jimmy Dunn
> > "John E. Staton" wrote:
> > > Dear Professor Dunn,
> > >
> > > I have noticed in the course of this seminar that some of your
> > > correspondents have questioned the relevance of Bailey's work to first
> > > century Palestine. I have to say your account of Bailey's work rang true
> > > me, because I have not long finished some work on Sts Columba and
> > > for which I had to research into Celtic and Anglo Saxon traditions for
> > > background purposes. Despite the fact that Celtic society and
> > > society are very different, the traditioning processes were very
> > > The traditions were largely passed on in performances - of song, poetry,
> > > saga. They were remembered, principally by professionals (clan
> > > had their "singers" who sang the praises, recounted the victories in
> > > or recited the genealogy of the chief or his clan at major ceremonies or
> > > times of battle to enhance the chiefs authority and to encourage his
> > > followers), and performed. Doubtless these performances differed in
> > > according to the circumstances or the mood of the performer. But in
> > > essentials they would have remained the same. Usually, the campfire or
> > > banqueting hall was the scene for this. It functioned as after dinner
> > > entertainment -with a purpose.
> > > Druidic tradition was apparently completely oral. When the Romans wiped
> > > the Druids, they wiped out their tradition. One gets the impression
> > > was more emphasis on more formal memorising there. The "exams" Druids
> had to
> > > pass to move from one stage to another were a matter of repeating
> > > a certain amount of remembered sacred material.
> > > But the oral tradition survived the literary era! The only reason we
> know of
> > > Celtic (and Saxon) myths and legends is that they were written down
> > > by *Chrsitian* monks who supposedly didn't believe all this stuff
> > > But they evidently continued to pass the tradition on, despite the
> advent of
> > > literacy and a change of religion.
> > > I would argue that the processes you refer to are typical of "oral"
> > > societies everywhere (I do not say "pre-literary" because I take your
> > > that orality persists for some time in literary societies), that they
> > > part of general human behaviour which we Westerners have forgotten
> > > we have been literate for too long.
> > >
> > > Hope this helps.
> > >
> > > Best Wishes
> > >
> > > JOHN E STATON
> > > www.jestaton.org
> > > jestaton@...
> > >
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