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Re: [J_D_G_DunnSeminar] Oral traditioning

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  • Meta Dunn
    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
    Message 1 of 7 , May 2 1:54 AM
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      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.
      James Dunn

      "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
      > www.jestaton.org
      > jestaton@...
      > ----- 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
      > this
      > > area which it would be worth my while consulting? Discussion hitherto
      > has
      > > depended overmuch on the Yugoslavian sagas of Lord etc. So something
      > 'nearer
      > > 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
      > for
      > > > me, because I have not long finished some work on Sts Columba and
      > Wilfrid,
      > > > for which I had to research into Celtic and Anglo Saxon traditions for
      > > > background purposes. Despite the fact that Celtic society and
      > Anglo-Saxon
      > > > society are very different, the traditioning processes were very
      > similar.
      > > > The traditions were largely passed on in performances - of song, poetry,
      > or
      > > > saga. They were remembered, principally by professionals (clan
      > chieftains
      > > > had their "singers" who sang the praises, recounted the victories in
      > battle,
      > > > or recited the genealogy of the chief or his clan at major ceremonies or
      > in
      > > > times of battle to enhance the chiefs authority and to encourage his
      > > > followers), and performed. Doubtless these performances differed in
      > detail,
      > > > according to the circumstances or the mood of the performer. But in
      > > > essentials they would have remained the same. Usually, the campfire or
      > the
      > > > 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
      > out
      > > > the Druids, they wiped out their tradition. One gets the impression
      > there
      > > > 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
      > correctly
      > > > 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
      > later
      > > > by *Chrsitian* monks who supposedly didn't believe all this stuff
      > anymore.
      > > > 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
      > point
      > > > that orality persists for some time in literary societies), that they
      > are
      > > > part of general human behaviour which we Westerners have forgotten
      > because
      > > > we have been literate for too long.
      > > >
      > > > Hope this helps.
      > > >
      > > > Best Wishes
      > > >
      > > > JOHN E STATON
      > > > www.jestaton.org
      > > > jestaton@...
      > > >
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