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Re: [XTalk] Eyewitnesses?

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  • Bruno Van de Casteele
    ... I have a question about this. I m no expert, so if I m being blatantly ignorant, please say so... How is this oral tradition to be considered (probably
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 11, 2003
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      On Tue, 10 Jun 2003 03:52:31 -0700 (PDT), the Dasein Loren Rosson <rossoiii@...> wrote:

      > > To be sure, an occasional bow is made in the
      > > direction of "oral tradition,"
      > > but few people seem to take it seriously.
      >
      > And this has been a serious liability in NT
      > scholarship. At its extreme, it's just plain naive. I
      > recently mentioned a book called the Patchwork Gospels
      > by Andrew Templeman, who considers the idea of the
      > gospels being based upon oral traditions "almost as
      > silly as the idea that the gospels fell out of the sky
      > on golden tablets" (intro).

      I have a question about this. I'm no expert, so if I'm being blatantly
      ignorant, please say so...

      How is this "oral tradition" to be considered (probably by a majority of
      scholars)?
      Is it really oral stories about "Jesus went up the mountain and said"
      and "he was hanging on the cross and..." or is the combination of
      various elements (like "Confucius say"-type of quotes, e.g. "Even
      Solomon in all his wisdom...") not necessarily related to any Jesus at
      all.

      In the first case, it should be relatively easy to prove (stylistically)
      that oral traditions have been put together. In the second case, the
      redactorial work of putting the various materials together should be
      apparent.

      Well, that would be my question: is it easily provable?

      --
      Bruno Van de Casteele brunovdc@...
      N.P. Puam [ ICQ#: CA957F ]
      http://www.puam.be/

      "Between the idea
      And the reality
      Between the motion
      And the act
      Falls the Shadow."
      T.S. Eliot
    • Bob Schacht
      ... The problem is that this oral tradition is NOT being seriously considered by the majority of scholars. ... Both of your examples are narrative frames. It
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 11, 2003
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        At 11:52 AM 6/11/2003 +0200, Bruno Van de Casteele wrote:

        >I have a question about this. I'm no expert, so if I'm being blatantly
        >ignorant, please say so...
        >
        >How is this "oral tradition" to be considered (probably by a majority of
        >scholars)?

        The problem is that this "oral tradition" is NOT being seriously considered
        by the majority of scholars.

        >Is it really oral stories about "Jesus went up the mountain and said"
        >and "he was hanging on the cross and..."

        Both of your examples are narrative frames. It is known from the Synoptic
        Gospels that the same saying can appear in different narrative frames. This
        is taken by Crossan and others to indicate that narrative frames and
        sayings circulated independently in the oral tradition. But this is not
        necessarily true. It could be that, say, Mark reported an oral tradition
        (narrative frame + sayings) that Matthew &/or Luke decided to dissect for
        their own editorial purposes.

        >or is the combination of various elements (like "Confucius say"-type of
        >quotes, e.g. "Even
        >Solomon in all his wisdom...") not necessarily related to any Jesus at all.

        Well, yes, that's the key question, isn't it?


        >In the first case, it should be relatively easy to prove (stylistically)
        >that oral traditions have been put together. In the second case, the
        >redactorial work of putting the various materials together should be
        >apparent.
        >
        >Well, that would be my question: is it easily provable?

        No, its not, or the issue would have been settled long ago.
        For the conventional view of critical scholarship on oral tradition, your
        best place to start is the so-called "Rules of Evidence" in the
        Introduction to The Five Gospels. Many of the "Rules" (bullets printed in
        red) relate to the Jesus Seminar's consensus view of oral tradition, which
        is heavily influenced by the theories and assumptions of Form Criticism.

        However, I refer you once again to Bauckham's article, and to Samuel
        Byrskog's book, History as Story: The
        Gospel Tradition in the Context of Ancient Oral History. He succeeds in
        poking a few holes in the consensus view.

        Bob



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Loren Rosson
        ... [Bob] ... Bauckham s article indeed undercuts the form critical assumption that most eyewitness-origins were lost under the anonymity of collective
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 13, 2003
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          >>How is this "oral tradition" to be considered
          >>(probably by a majority of scholars)?

          [Bob]
          > The problem is that this "oral tradition" is NOT
          > being seriously considered
          > by the majority of scholars...
          > However, I refer you once again to Bauckham's
          > article, and to Samuel
          > Byrskog's book, History as Story: The
          > Gospel Tradition in the Context of Ancient Oral
          > History. He succeeds in
          > poking a few holes in the consensus view.

          Bauckham's article indeed undercuts the form critical
          assumption that most eyewitness-origins were lost
          under the anonymity of collective transmission. That
          Papias, for instance, valued and expected to hear what
          actual disciples had said (like Andrew and Peter) and
          were still saying (like Aristion and John the Elder)
          indicates that oral traditions didn't necessarily
          evolve away from eyewitnesses but continued to be
          attached to them. So we can perhaps be stronger than
          speaking simply of the "voice" of oral tradition. We
          can speak of the voices of actual informants who had
          and have memories of the sayings and deeds of Jesus.

          Loren Rosson III
          Nashua NH
          rossoiii@...


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        • Richard Anderson
          ... From: Loren Rosson [mailto:rossoiii@yahoo.com] Sent: Friday, June 13, 2003 7:58 AM To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [XTalk] Eyewitnesses? ...
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 13, 2003
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            -----Original Message-----
            From: Loren Rosson [mailto:rossoiii@...]
            Sent: Friday, June 13, 2003 7:58 AM
            To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [XTalk] Eyewitnesses?



            >>How is this "oral tradition" to be considered
            >>(probably by a majority of scholars)?

            [Bob]
            > The problem is that this "oral tradition" is NOT
            > being seriously considered
            > by the majority of scholars...
            > However, I refer you once again to Bauckham's
            > article, and to Samuel
            > Byrskog's book, History as Story: The
            > Gospel Tradition in the Context of Ancient Oral
            > History. He succeeds in
            > poking a few holes in the consensus view.

            Bauckham's article indeed undercuts the form critical
            assumption that most eyewitness-origins were lost
            under the anonymity of collective transmission. That
            Papias, for instance, valued and expected to hear what
            actual disciples had said (like Andrew and Peter) and
            were still saying (like Aristion and John the Elder)
            indicates that oral traditions didn't necessarily
            evolve away from eyewitnesses but continued to be
            attached to them. So we can perhaps be stronger than
            speaking simply of the "voice" of oral tradition. We
            can speak of the voices of actual informants who had
            and have memories of the sayings and deeds of Jesus.

            Loren Rosson III
            Nashua NH
            rossoiii@...


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          • Richard Anderson
            My apologies for sending a blank message; I am still composing my thoughts. Richard H. Anderson
            Message 5 of 8 , Jun 13, 2003
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              My apologies for sending a blank message; I am still composing my thoughts.

              Richard H. Anderson
            • David C. Hindley
              ... eyewitness-origins were lost under the anonymity of collective transmission. That Papias, for instance, valued and expected to hear what actual disciples
              Message 6 of 8 , Jun 13, 2003
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                Loren Rosson III says:

                >>Bauckham's article indeed undercuts the form critical assumption that most
                eyewitness-origins were lost under the anonymity of collective transmission.
                That Papias, for instance, valued and expected to hear what actual disciples
                had said (like Andrew and Peter) and were still saying (like Aristion and
                John the Elder) indicates that oral traditions didn't necessarily evolve
                away from eyewitnesses but continued to be attached to them. So we can
                perhaps be stronger than speaking simply of the "voice" of oral tradition.
                We can speak of the voices of actual informants who had and have memories of
                the sayings and deeds of Jesus.<<

                Why could not Papias' interest in finding the oldest oral witnesses have
                been due to a distrust of, or dissatisfaction with, oral or written
                traditions as they existed more than a generation or two from the
                "eyewitnesses?" Seems he wanted to set the record straight rather than
                preserve it.

                In any event, later generations (particularly Eusebius) had none too high
                opinion of what he related: particularly the saying of Jesus that predicts a
                bountiful earthly kingdom (a tradition shared by _2 Baruch_).

                As an interesting side issue to this, the other day I received an e-mail
                from the IOUDAIOS list from Jim Davila with a link to an abstract of a new
                book by Rivka Nir, _The Destruction of Jerusalem and the Idea of Redemption
                in the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch_ (Early Judaism and Its Literature #20,
                SBL and Brill: 2003) ISBN #1589830504, which proposes that 2 Baruch may
                represent the point of view of earliest Christianity.
                http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com/#95497787

                Respectfully,

                Dave Hindley
                Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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