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Re: [J_D_G_DunnSeminar] Oral Tradition vs Oral Performance

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  • Meta Dunn
    Dear Dave Hindley, Apologies for the delay in replying - I had server problems for 48 hours - but all seems OK now. I don t recall the earlier question. If I
    Message 1 of 2 , May 2, 2001
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      Dear Dave Hindley,
      Apologies for the delay in replying - I had server problems for 48 hours
      - but all seems OK now.
      I don't recall the earlier question. If I missed it, my apologies.
      'A desire to romantically emplot the historical record' - hmm! sounds
      serious! Since I'm something of a romantic myself I may have to plead
      somewhat guilty - if I fully understand the charge!
      The main difference between Papias and me (if I may put it so) is that I
      envisage an intermediate role for a community-driven traditioning process.
      But that need not be a major difference, since one may imagine that Peter had
      a formative influence on the shape and content of many of the traditions
      involving him - as e.g. Vincent Taylor frequently surmised, and usually with
      good reason.
      I'm not sufficiently familiar with Herder to follow up on your
      penultimate para.
      As I've indicated in a number of responses now, my concern has always
      been to make best sense of the character of the Synoptic tradition as we
      still have it in our current Synopses. It just seems to me that a realistic
      conception of the oral traditioning process helps considerably towards that
      'best sense'. If my envisioning of that process a la Bailey is incurably
      romantic, then so be it.
      Thanks for coming back again.

      "David C. Hindley" wrote:

      > Professor Dunn,
      > Back on the 27th I posted a question asking about the philosophical
      > implications of the article under discussion, that to date has been
      > missed (or skipped?).
      > The paper contains a fair amount of rhetorical language, such
      > as "Unfortunately ..." (numerous), "... obvious ...," "ignored the
      > most obvious," "once again eluded scholarship," "Regrettably then,
      > once again, the potential significance of ... has been subverted by
      > another agenda and lost to sight," etc. (and these are just those in
      > the first 8 pages!)
      > There is also a striking similarity between your suggestions and
      > Papias' statement, himself quoting the verbal account of "the
      > presbyter," that "Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote
      > down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in
      > exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he
      > neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I
      > said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the
      > necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a
      > regular narrative of the Lord's sayings. Wherefore Mark made no
      > mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one
      > thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and
      > not to put anything fictitious into the statements." [Eusebius,
      > _H.E._ 3:39]
      > You may not be claiming that the author of the second gospel was
      > actually Mark, Peter's assistant, but you do seem to be asserting a
      > very similar transmission process as described above. Is this
      > coincidence, fortuitous, a vindication of tradition, or an
      > explanation intended to set the minds of reasonable people at ease?
      > To some of us who have a great deal of psychological resources
      > invested in the historical method, this is a very important question.
      > I thought the mention of Herder's almost offhand comment about oral
      > saga explaining variations in the gospel accounts was more than
      > coincidental. J. G. Herder had offered a solution to the conflict
      > between scientific method and a metaphysical comprehansion of the
      > world that permitted empirical investigation to live in harmony with
      > a theological world view. However it is no accident, I think, that he
      > is also considered the father of the Romanticist schools of history.
      > Does oral traditioning (with regard to the gospels, at least) boil
      > down to a desire to romantically emplot the historical record?

      > Thanks again!
      > Dave Hindley
      > Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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