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Bailey's Theory, Anecdotes, and the Burden of Proof

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  • Ted Weeden
    Dear Listers, What follows is my reply to James D. G. Dunn s response to my essay, Bailey s Theory of Oral Tradition: a Flawed Theory, Part II, an essay
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 18, 2002
      Dear Listers,

      What follows is my reply to James D. G. Dunn's response to my essay, "Bailey's
      Theory of Oral Tradition: a Flawed Theory, Part II," an essay which I posted
      initially to XTalk on December 24, 2001. Jeffrey Gibson alerted you to this
      exchange between Professor Dunn and myself in an XTalk post of January 14, 2002.
      In fact it is Jeffrey who made James Dunn aware of my critique of Bailey's
      Theory, a theory which Dunn has drawn upon appreciatively in his own work.
      Jeffrey also made available to Professor Dunn the first part of my critique of
      Bailey's theory, as well as the various XTalk posts, related to my critique,
      that appeared thereafter. Jeffrey, in addition, encouraged me to engage
      Professor Dunn directly via e-mail, and, as a result, I sent him a corrected and
      slightly expanded version of my essay of December 24. That version appears at
      the end of Professor Dunn's response to the second part of my critique, the
      response to which I now reply and which Jeffrey made available via his XTalk
      post of January 14, 2002. I want to thank Jeffrey for facilitating this
      dialogue between James Dunn and myself.

      My reply to Professor Dunn's response to the second part of my critique of
      Bailey's theory is divided as follows: I. Initial Encounter with Bailey's
      Theory; II. A Disturbing Revelation; III. Rena Hogg and the Achilles Heel of
      Bailey's Theory; IV. The Nine Anecdotes and the Burden of Proof.

      I. Initial Encounter with Bailey's Theory

      James D. G. Dunn wrote to me on January 14, 2002:

      "I had read your Part I with very great interest, and some concern for its
      consequences on my own work. So I approached your Part II with even greater
      interest and some trepidation.
      But I have to confess at a growing disappointment. Your approach seemed a bit
      like some essays I occasionally receive from students, determined to argue down
      a view differing from their own: they interpret all data as negatively as
      possible to the view being attacked, and pass over or play down features of the
      other view which a more dispassionate perspective might count in its favour.
      You'll know the attitude from your own teaching ('I will defend the Pauline
      authorship of the Pastorals to the last drop of my blood whatever the data'!).
      So it was rather disappointing to find you pushing your case with something of
      the same resolution."

      And later in his response Professor Dunn states with respect to my critique of
      anecdote #8: "Oh dear, Ted, you're evidently determined to do Bailey down at all

      My response:

      Jimmy, it is really not my intention to "to do Bailey down at all costs," and I
      am not trying to "interpret all data as negatively as possible" with respect to
      Bailey's theory of informal controlled oral tradition. Quite frankly, and
      this may surprise you, as a person of faith and a pastor for a good part of my
      professional career, along with teaching in universities and seminaries, I would
      like Bailey to be right. Jesus of Nazareth has always had a powerful impact
      upon and compelling meaning for my very being. I would like, therefore, to be
      able (1) to have some confidence that the methodology of informal controlled
      oral tradition, as Bailey depicts it, is and has been the methodology practiced
      by orality-based and orality-dependent communities in the Middle East from
      ancient times to the present, and thus, and most important, (2) to have
      reasonable confidence that the early Palestinian Christians did practice that
      methodology to ensure and assure that the actual sayings and deeds of the
      historical Jesus were accurately preserved and their integrity was faithfully
      maintained and transmitted through all the multiple transmissions of the Jesus
      oral tradition until it was textualized in the Synoptic Gospels.
      But as a scholar trained in historical-critical research the desires of my heart
      and soul must also be tempered by the critical inquiry, comprehensive analysis
      and considered judgments of my mind. Thus, I must state, as honestly as I can,
      that initially I did not entertain any prejudice toward Bailey's theory when I
      was first introduced to it by your paper, "The Initial Stages of the Jesus
      Tradition," which you presented on the on-line seminar,
      J_D_G_DunnSeminar@yahoogroups.com, during the latter part of April and the first
      part of May, 2001. I found your presentation of Bailey's theory, as you cited
      it from his article, "Informal Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic
      Gospels, " _Asia Journal of Theology_ 5 (1991), 34-54, to be cogent. I
      concluded, from what I perceived to be your high commendation of his theory,
      that Bailey had made his case that the Middle Eastern communities he experienced
      in his forty years in the Middle East did in fact practice the methodology of
      informal controlled oral tradition as a means to preserve and ensure the
      accuracy of the transmission of their respective oral traditions.

      Thus, initially I had no reason to think that Bailey had not persuasively
      presented the case for the methodology of informal controlled oral tradition as
      he experienced it being practiced in the Middle East. I did, however, have
      reservations about (1) whether Bailey had made his case for his argument that
      informal controlled oral tradition was the methodology used consistently by
      early Christians prior to the outset of the Roman-Jewish War in 66 CE, and (2)
      whether informal controlled oral tradition was so widely, uniformly and
      consistently exercised as a modus operandi in non-literate communities, and
      particularly the Palestinian Christian communities, in view of James C. Scott 's
      conclusions about how oral tradition is treated in non-literate oral cultures.
      I cited these reservations to you in my response to your paper which I posted
      May 3, 2001 during the closing days of the seminar (see his 'Protest and
      Profanation: Agrarian Revolt and the Little Tradition, Part I, ' _Theory and
      Society_, 26f.).

      II. A Disturbing Revelation

      It was only when I subsequently read Ken Olson's post also of May 3, sent to you
      via the seminar, that for the first time questions arose in my mind with respect
      to the integrity of Bailey's theory itself. For in his post Olson stated that
      he had grown skeptical of Bailey's representation of his anecdotal evidence to
      substantiate his theory, specifically with respect to the claims Bailey makes
      for the support of his theory he found in Rena Hogg's book _A Master Builder on
      the Nile_. Olson's revelation surfaced for the first time in my mind the
      issue as to whether Bailey may have misrepresented his sources, in particularly
      Rena Hogg. I determined to pursue this disturbing thought and to find out
      whether such could be the case by securing Bailey's two articles on informal
      controlled oral tradition ("Informal Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic
      Gospels, " _Asia Journal of Theology_ 5 [1991], 34-54 and "Middle Eastern Oral
      Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels," _The Expository Times_ 106 [1995],
      363-367), as well as Rena Hogg's _A Master Builder on the Nile_. Having done
      so, I set out to compare what Rena Hogg actually reports in her biography with
      what Kenneth Bailey claims she reports in his articles. What I found was even
      more disturbing than Olson's revelation which had launched my investigation. I
      found, as I have demonstrated in my first essay on Bailey's theory, that not
      only had Bailey misrepresented Rena Hogg in his effort to marshal her book as
      support for his theory, but also his claim that she is a corroborating witness
      for his theory is completely unfounded. Quite the contrary, her book, the only
      extant, examinable support he offers for his theory, turns out to be a
      devastating witness against his theory.

      Bailey's misrepresentation of Rena Hogg raised an even more provocative and
      fundamental question, namely: if Bailey has misrepresented the one extant source
      which we can examine to determine whether his argument for his theory is both
      cogent and sustainable--- and that source, in fact, repudiates his theory---
      what confidence can be placed in the accuracy and reliability of the rest of the
      evidentiary support he proffers for his theory? For the rest of his
      evidentiary support consists solely of personal anecdotes drawn from his
      experience in the Middle East, anecdotes which are presented without
      documentation that can be empirically examined and without the citation of any
      corroborative testimony of independent, impartial witnesses to attest to the
      reliability of the conclusions he draws in support for his theory via those

      Now, if you will permit me, Jimmy, I would like to return to your analogy of
      students and essays they have presented to you, and ask you to consider this
      student-essay scenario. Let us suppose that a student submitted an essay to
      you which you found proposed an interesting, new theory. And let us suppose
      further that you become intrigued by the theory and decide to explore its
      ramifications for your own work. However, you are limited in doing so, for
      the student offers only one extant, available source in support of his theory.
      All the rest of the evidence, which he cites in his essay, while plausibly
      supportive of his theory, turns out to be unsubstantiated and unverifiable
      personal anecdotes. Nevertheless, to explore your interest you secure from
      the library that one extant source, only to discover in reading the source that
      the student has completely misrepresented it and, as a result, misled you into
      thinking that the source offers confirmation of his theory, when it clearly does
      not. In fact, that source presents devastating evidence against his theory.

      As result of that discovery, how much confidence would you then be able to place
      in the reliability, much less the credibility, of the undocumented,
      uncorroborated anecdotes the student cites additionally in support of his
      theory? How might that discovery affect the tack you took in critically
      scrutinizing those anecdotes to satisfy for yourself whether or not the
      anecdotes did in fact provide valid support for the student's theory? And with
      the discovery of false representation in mind, how would you deal with the essay
      when it came time for you to make a judgment, as a professor, as to whether it
      was academically acceptable? If I received such an essay from a student, I
      would have to reject it for failing to meet the normative standards of
      responsible scholarship. Should standards be any less for ourselves or other

      You suggest that I am unduly critical of Bailey, and, even, unfairly so. I
      have taken that judgment under advisement. But let me explain the reason for
      the tack I took in my critical scrutinizing of Bailey's anecdotes to satisfy for
      myself whether they in fact provide convincing support for the student's theory?
      And once I have explained that I would appreciate you telling me if you still
      think that the tack I have taken is unduly critical, even unfair to him.

      To begin with, Bailey's complete misrepresentation of Rena Hogg brought into
      question my normal trust that, when a scholar presents evidence in support of
      her/his theory, I can have some measure of confidence that what is presented is
      presented accurately Unlike you, I do not know Kenneth Bailey, except as a
      published and respected scholar. So it came as a stunning shock to discover
      that, in mounting his evidence for his theory, he had falsely represented Rena
      Hogg. Now let me state as clearly as I can that I am in no way accusing Bailey
      of deception, far from it. I do *not* think that Bailey intentionally
      misrepresented the evidence he claims lies in Rena Hogg's biography of her
      father, John Hogg. I think he really believed that the evidentiary support he
      attributes to Rena Hogg really was there in her _A Master Builder on the Nile_.
      And he states very explicitly that he "could read [the accounts that support his
      theory]. . . from the 1914 book [of Rena Hogg] in his hand." I surmise that as
      Bailey's theory began to crystallize in his mind that he recalled having read
      Rena Hogg's book and her 1914 accounts about her father and "remembered" those
      accounts as the same accounts he heard about her father in the 1950s and 60s.
      I surmise, as I suggested in Part II of my critique of Bailey's theory, that he
      was so sure of the accuracy of his memory that he disregarded the need to
      confirm what he remembered of Rena Hogg's accounts was true to what she actually
      recorded. And, unfortunately and tragically, Bailey's memory failed him, as
      memory can fail any of us.

      Memory is very fickle and often can be the least dependable when we think for
      good reason we can with confidence depend upon it. In a chapter on memory in
      _The Birth of Christianity_ (58-68), John Dominic Crossan reports some striking
      and disquieting experiences of how memory has failed people, even when they were
      convinced they had recalled accurately the past. "[E]xperiments agree in
      warning us," Crossan reports (84), "that memory is much less accurate than we
      think and that it *may be least accurate when it is most secure*" [emphasis:
      Crossan]. Two quotes Crossan provides in his discussion on memory underscore
      the problem of how memory can seduce us into making us think it is reliable:

      "The malleability of human memory represents a phenomenon that is at once
      perplexing and vexing. It means that our past might not be exactly as we
      remember it. The very nature of truth and certainty is shaken. It is more
      comforting for us to believe that somewhere within our brain, however well
      hidden, rests a bedrock of memory that absolutely corresponds with events that
      have passed. Unfortunately, we are simply not designed that way" (Elizabeth F.
      Loftus, _Memory:, Surprising New Insights into How We Remember and Why We
      Forget_, 190; quoted by Crossan, 63).

      "Human remembering is normally exceedingly subject to error. It looks as if
      what is said to be reproduced is, far more generally than is commonly admitted,
      really a construction, serving to justify whatever impression may have been left
      by the original. It is this 'impression,' rarely defined with much exactitude,
      which most readily persists. So long as the details which can be built up
      around it are such that they would give it a 'reasonable' setting, most of us
      are fairly content, and are apt to think that what we build we have literally
      retained" (Sir Frederic Bartlett, _ Remembering: A Study in Experimental and
      Social Psychology_, 175-176; quoted by Crossan, 83f.).

      III. Rena Hogg and the Achilles Heel of Bailey's Theory

      Whatever failed him, memory or some other factor, there is no denial of the fact
      that Bailey's presentation of Rena Hogg's accounts of the oral tradition which
      evolved around the ministry of her father in those southern Egyptian Christian
      communities is vastly different from what Bailey claims. This fact in itself
      places a very heavy burden of proof upon his remaining anecdotes to support his
      theory of informal controlled oral tradition. As a consequence, in my
      judgment, those anecdotes must be scrutinized carefully to see if they can
      "carry the day" in defense of his theory. And the task which Bailey has, as a
      result, implicitly given them is far more daunting then they can "pull off" in
      face of the contravening effect of Rena Hogg's evidentiary refutation of

      The magnitude of this task required of the nine anecdotes, which I have cited,
      is not fully appreciated until one recognizes how devastating Rena Hogg's
      accounts about her father are to Bailey's theory. For Rena Hogg's 1914 account
      of the oral tradition about her father is far more devastating to Bailey theory
      than the fact that the stories she reports about her father do not correspond,
      with the possible of one version of the robber episode (see below) to the
      stories Bailey claims she reports. What is so devastating to Bailey's theory
      in Rena Hogg's accounts is that she undermines the very foundation of informal
      controlled oral tradition as Bailey represents it. She exposes the Achilles
      Heel of Bailey's Theory. Why do I state this so strongly?

      As I stated to Rikki Watts in my X Talk post, "Re: Bailey's Reponse," (November
      29, 2001), the methodology of informal controlled oral tradition, which Bailey
      claims to have observed in Middle Eastern communities, and which he argues was
      the same method used by the earliest Christians, can only be capable of
      preserving oral tradition with assured authenticity, by my reasoning, if it is
      always practiced, without exception, every time stories integral to the identity
      of a community are recited. In other words, the efficaciousness of the
      methodology employed by a *haflat samar* to ensure and assure authenticity in
      the preservation and transmission of oral tradition obtains, by the implicit
      logic of the theory, only if that methodology is exercised rigorously,
      unrelentingly and unabatedly, without exception, in every gathering of a
      community's *haflat samar* throughout the course of its history. Thus, in the
      history of a community that practices such a methodology there can never be an
      unguarded moment when there is a lapse in the exercise of the methodology in a
      *haflat samar*. If it were otherwise, lack of control on the recitation of
      oral tradition in those unguarded, lapsed moments would "open the door" to the
      telling of stories incorrectly or even to the introduction of apocryphal
      accounts that would then put in peril the authenticity of the community's oral
      tradition and permit, as a result, the corrupted, inauthentic recitation of
      such "uncontrolled" moments to become a part of the oral legacy of future
      *haflat samar* recitations.

      While Bailey does not put this problematic character of his theory as boldly as
      I have, he does seem to recognize, at least implicitly, the critical issue to
      which I am drawing attention. For at one point in his _AJT _ article (42) he
      notes with respect to storytelling: "The storyteller [has] a certain freedom to
      tell the story in his own way as long as the central thrust of the story [is]
      not changed. So here [is] continuity and flexibility. Not continuity and
      change. The distinction is important. Continuity and change could mean that
      the storyteller could change 15% of the story---any 15%. Thus after seven
      transmissions of the story theoretically *all* [emphasis: Bailey] of the story
      could be changed." The import of that statement, I surmise, is that control
      over the recitation of stories of a community's oral tradition---particularly
      the identity-formative stories---must always be rigorously, unrelentingly and
      unabatedly exercised in the *haflat samar*. For it to be otherwise, puts at
      risk the authenticity of the oral tradition and thus also the identity of the
      community itself.

      At yet another point in his _AJT_ article (50), when Bailey speaks to what he
      believes was the exercise of the methodology of informal controlled oral
      tradition in the earliest Palestinian Christian communities from Jesus to the 70
      's of the first century, Bailey states: "It appears that the earliest church
      may have refined the methodology already functioning naturally among them. Not
      everyone was authorized to recite the tradition. The witness was required to
      have been an *eyewitness* [emphasis: Bailey] of the historical Jesus to qualify
      as a hUPHRETHS TOU LOGOU [cf. Lk. 1:2]. Thus, at least to the end of the first
      century, the authenticity of the tradition was assured to the community through
      specially designated authoritative witnesses. At the same time, with the
      destruction of the controlling communities which monitored and passed on the
      tradition, the corruption evidenced in the apocryphal gospels is explainable."

      I surmise that Bailey in this instance is speaking once again, at least by
      inference, to the same methodological issue of the necessity to maintain
      uninterrupted and unrelenting control on the transmission of oral tradition in
      order to preserve its authenticity and its accuracy of transmission. I take it
      that, in his interpretation, the emergence of the apocryphal gospels was due to
      the cessation of such rigorous, unabated application of the methodology in the
      Christian communities once these communities, which were dedicated to such a
      methodology as their modus operandi for recalling and passing on the Jesus
      tradition, ceased to exist as communities. So for the methodology of Bailey's
      theory to be efficacious in guaranteeing the accurate preservation and
      transmission of the authentic oral tradition of a community, in ancient or in
      recent times, there cannot be any deviation from absolute control of that oral
      tradition in each and every gathering of a community's *haflat samar*.

      And that is precisely why Rena Hogg's recounting of the oral tradition about her
      father, which she heard in 1910, is so devastating to Bailey's theory. For as
      I read Rena Hogg she states very pointedly that no such control on the oral
      tradition about her father was exercised by the Egyptian Christian communities
      he founded, and judging from her, had not been practiced for sometime--- which
      raises the even more fundamental question as to whether it was ever practiced in
      those villages prior to 1910.

      Here, as I pointed out in my post to Rikki Watts, is what Rena Hogg reports
      concerning the character and oral trajectory of the remembrances of her father
      in those communities. At the very outset of her book (13f.) she states that
      the tradition about her father, John Hogg, which she heard in 1910, almost fifty
      years before Bailey's stay in those same communities, had already become so
      embellished by legendary accretions that she feared that there was "a danger
      that the message of his life may be lost under a tangled mass of fact and
      fiction." As she puts it, she found in her visit twenty-eight years after his
      death that "tales" about her father had gained "in glamour with the years ."
      And then later, in her introduction to the chapter in which she reports the only
      two stories that have parallels to Bailey's stories her father, she pens these
      words: "We turn now to that phase of Dr. Hogg's life which has gripped most
      strongly the heart and *imagination* [emphasis: TJW] of the people amongst whom
      he laboured" (_A Master Builder on the Nile_, 211). She then follows shortly
      thereafter with the following:

      "'In recalling,' says Ruskin, 'the impressions we have received from the works
      of man, after a lapse of time long enough to involve in obscurity all but the
      most vivid, it often happens that we find a strange pre-eminence and durability
      in many upon whose strength we had little calculated, and that points of
      character which had escaped the detection of the judgment, become developed
      under *the waste of memory*'"(211f.; emphasis: TJW ). All of which evokes this
      comment from Rena Hogg with respect to the memory of her father she encountered
      among the villages her father founded: "At first glance such a picture of the
      man as the villagers have preserved seems extravagantly incorrect. . . . Yet a
      minute examination of the facts may go far to modify one's opinion" (212).

      What Bailey presents as the villagers' accurate and authentic presentation of
      the oral record of John Hogg's ministry in their villages, Rena Hogg found to be
      "a tangled mass of fact and fiction," which has created, at least at "first
      glance," an "extravagantly incorrect picture" of her father, a picture dominated
      by legendary and romantic tales, a picture generated by the imagination of the
      villagers in their effort to give fitting tribute to her father's ministry among

      Thus in contrast to Bailey's claim that he found in the 1950s and 60s the
      communities established by John Hogg were practicing the methodology of informal
      controlled oral tradition to ensure that the authenticity of the oral tradition
      about John Hogg was accurately preserved and faithfully transmitted to future
      generations, Rena Hogg tells us that in 1910 she encountered an entirely
      different method being practiced by the Hogg-founded villages to pass on
      memories about their revered founder through oral transmission. Here is how
      she describes, in the initial sentence of the prologue of her father's
      biography, the method that she found operative in those villages (see also my
      first essay, Part I of my critique of Bailey's theory and my post to Rikki
      Watts): "The days of legend have not wholly fled. There are regions in the
      Orient where the centuries fall from us and we seem nearer to the beginnings of
      history than in the modern West. Facts, instead of being buried under
      to-morrow's [sic] news and forgotten, are stored in the memory of an unhurried
      race, repeated by friend to friend and by father to son, talked over with the
      vivid vocabulary of the East in a calm and ample leisure. Thus legend grows"

      Kenneth Bailey observed the transmission of the memory of John Hogg in the
      Hogg-founded villages in the 1950s and 60s and states that he discerned them
      using the methodology of informal controlled oral tradition to preserve and pass
      on his memory with authentic accuracy. Rena Hogg observed the transmission of
      memory of her father in those same villages in 1910 and states that she
      discerned that the villagers used what Bailey would label as a methodology of
      informal *uncontrolled* [emphasis: TJW] oral tradition (the same label he gives
      to Rudolf Bultmann's methodological explanation of the transmission of the Jesus
      tradition): namely, as memories of her father were "repeated by friend to
      friend and by father to son" legend grew.

      What Rena Hogg observed had taken place in these Egyptian communities with
      respect to the legendary growth of the oral tradition about her father sounds to
      me very much like what James Scott describes as the typical evolutionary
      character of oral tradition in non-literate, non-elite cultures. I quote from
      Scott again (26f.; see also my post to Rikki Watts): "By their nature, oral
      traditions are plastic; they may be embroidered and transformed in accord with
      the needs of social groups and the vicissitudes of history. Since there is no
      original text to which reference can be made, the past may serve the present
      without any sense of heresy. . . . Moreover, folk syncretism seems to have an
      additive quality to it. Imported elements are incorporated to find their place
      among existing practices, many of which are residue of earlier borrowing."

      Rena Hogg's observation that the communities her father founded told stories
      about him via informal uncontrolled oral tradition remains as a glaring, extant
      repudiation of Bailey's contention that Middle Eastern villages of oral culture
      historically and uniformly practiced the methodology of informal controlled oral
      tradition. Now it is possible that Bailey did in fact find that the villages
      which John Hogg founded were exercising a methodology of informal controlled
      oral tradition with respect to the remembrances of their founder when Bailey was
      in those villages in the 1950s to 60s. It is possible that such a methodology
      was developed late in the history of those village communities in order to
      execute some control on their tradition. But it is clear from Rena Hogg's book
      that, if in fact the villages were exercising the methodology in the 1950s and
      1960s, the oral tradition about John Hogg they were keeping control on was an
      oral tradition whose historic authenticity by that time had become severely
      corrupted by fictive, legendary embellishments. However, whether the
      communities were practicing the methodology of informal controlled oral
      tradition during Bailey's stay in them or not, Rena Hoggs's revelation about the
      legendary character of the oral tradition of her father exposes, in my judgment,
      the Achilles Heel of Bailey's Theory and, likely sounds its death knell, unless
      one argues that those particular Egyptian villages, prior to 1910, are an
      "exception that proves the rule" with respect to Bailey's contention that Middle
      East communities have historically practiced the methodology of informal
      controlled oral, from ancient to contemporary times, to ensure that the oral
      tradition indigenous to those respective villages is accurately preserved and
      faithfully transmitted from generation to generation.

      Yet even, if one argues for such an exception in defense of Bailey's theory,
      still in the face of Rena Hogg's revelation of the legendary character of the
      oral tradition about her father a tremendous and telling blow is dealt to one of
      the foundation principles of his theory. In a concluding paragraph to his
      _AJT_ article, Bailey summarizes the importance of a community preserving its
      oral tradition about its founder, a tradition that for the sake of the integrity
      of the community's own identity must remain uncorrupted from the very inception
      of the tradition to its most recent rehearsal. Here is how Bailey puts the
      essential importance of a community preserving the uncorrupted authenticity, and
      thus the integrity, of its oral tradition (50f.):

      "In the case of John Hogg, the [oral] material was preserved because it was the
      record of the words and deeds of the founder of the community and thus an
      affirmation of the identity of the reciters of the tradition. We are convinced
      that the same can be affirmed regarding the Synoptic tradition. . . . To
      remember the words and deeds of Jesus was to affirm their own unique identity.
      The stories had to be *told* and *controlled* [emphases: Bailey] or everything
      that made them who they were [was] lost." If that be the case, as Bailey
      articulates it, then with respect to the Egyptian Christian communities which
      John Hogg founded, who they were (and are?), if not lost, had at least been
      compromised by the time Bailey was in their midst in the 1950s and 60s. For
      Rena Hogg reveals that already by 1910, their identity was not based upon the
      integrity and authenticity of an oral tradition rooted in the historic John
      Hogg, but was based in her words, upon the "tangled mass of fact and fiction"
      of an oral tradition about a legend-enshrouded John Hogg, an oral tradition that
      had freely evolved, without constraints imposed to ensure its historical
      authenticity, since the time her father ministered in those communities.

      IV. The Nine Anecdotes and the Burden of Proof

      From my perspective, Rena Hogg's disputatious witness against Bailey's theory,
      imposes a severe burden of proof on Bailey's nine anecdotes to vouch for the
      existence and validity of his theory. Thus a careful critical scrutiny of
      these anecdotes, in my judgment, is required to see if they can salvage Bailey's
      theory from Rena Hogg's vitiating repudiation. Jimmy, I return now to those
      nine anecdotes and your "marginal annotations" on them.

      You state with respect to my critique of the first anecdote: "(1) is little to
      the main point; it simply shows the tendency to maintain continuity of tradition
      in the East."

      My response:

      But, Jimmy, I think it is to the main point. While, in citing the practice of
      the Atshani Syrian Orthodox seminary to sing fourth-century, St. Ephrem hymns---
      which were orally composed to combat the Bardaisan heresy--- Bailey does not
      explicitly introduce the anecdote as an example of the way in which informal
      controlled oral tradition is operative, it is, nevertheless, an anecdote
      featuring an orality-based and orality-dependent community which has sought to
      preserve its oral tradition integral to its identity. Did the community or
      did it not practice informal controlled oral tradition to preserve that
      tradition? Was that what its members were doing by singing the hymns? If they
      were, the anecdote supports Bailey's theory. If they were not practicing the
      methodology, then, as in the case of Rena Hogg, the anecdote is a telling
      disputatious witness against his theory. But Bailey gives us no clue as to
      whether the community was consciously practicing informal controlled oral
      tradition. Thus while the anecdote does not, in itself, disprove Bailey's
      theory, it does not on the other hand offer substantive support for it. And
      the onus, particularly in view of the Rena Hogg's evidentiary refutation is on
      Bailey, as I see it, to prove that his anecdotes do in fact clearly and
      irrefutably undergird the validity of his theory.

      You state with respect to my critique of the second anecdote: "(2) is likewise
      little to the point."

      My response is the same as I stated in my response to your comment regarding #1.
      The anecdote is materially germane to the main point of Bailey's theory. For
      again, in my judgment, in view of Rena Hogg's evidentiary refutation the onus is
      on Bailey to prove that his anecdotes do in fact clearly and irrefutably
      undergird the validity of his theory. And anecdote #2 does not offer that
      clear and irrefutable proof. The fact that a man who lived in the village of
      Kom al-Akhdar was challenged for having the right to share the village's
      traditions does not clearly and irrefutably indicate that the village was
      exercising informal controlled oral tradition when they challenged him. That
      same kind of challenge is made, as I pointed out in my essay, in small towns of
      Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. And when such a challenge is being made in
      those small towns it is not because the "locals" in those communities are
      practicing informal controlled oral tradition.

      You state with respect to my critique of the third anecdote: "(3) is more like
      the Lord/Foley data."

      My response:

      But how does the anecdote offer clear and irrefutable evidence that would
      validate Bailey's theory. Again, as I stated in my essay, the zajali's
      propensity to ab lib on occasion makes this anecdote suspect as a support for
      Bailey's theory. Ad libbing could, in my view, lead to alteration of the oral

      You state with respect to my critique of the third anecdote "(4) I don't see how
      this tells against Bailey."

      My response:

      It does not "tell against Bailey." But it does not clearly and irrefutably
      tell for him either. And the onus is on Bailey to "score" the point. The
      fact that in the anecdote the members of the *haflat samar* turned to Rev.
      Dagher, its ranking patriarch, to explain the punch line may indicate no more
      than deference to an elder, and not necessarily the exercise of a component part
      of informal controlled oral tradition. Moreover, I still do not understand, if
      Bailey discerned that the community was in fact practicing informal controlled
      oral tradition, why he did not test his "hunches" with Rev. Dagher himself, with
      whom he seems to have had some acquaintance.

      You state with respect to my critique of the fifth anecdote: "(5) You are unduly
      critical. This presumably was an informal experiment, in a different situation
      from the halfat samar, but one which displayed strikingly similar
      characteristics. As such it seems to strengthen Bailey's case."

      My response:

      In my essay I acknowledged the following with respect to the experiment Bailey
      conducted with his students in his Beirut classroom: "What I find interesting is
      that, in his _ET_ allusion to the anecdote provided in detail in his _AJT_
      article, Bailey states that "the students instinctively [formed] the
      controlling community," a detail that he does not share in his _AJT_ version.
      I would like to have had Bailey speak more fully about this instinctive response
      of students to turn a classroom into the setting of a controlling community.
      If that was the case, namely that the students did turn themselves into a
      controlling community, then that would lend some support to Bailey's theory."

      I view my essay statement as indicating that this anecdote could well provide
      support to his theory, if only, as I noted in my essay, Bailey had shared more
      about the way he introduced the experiment and led the students in their
      responses, so that we would have more information upon which to determine
      whether the anecdote does offer the validation he claims it does for his theory.

      You state with respect to my critique of the sixth anecdote: "(6) Again, unduly
      critical. It is an anecdote, not a scientifically controlled experiment. To
      sustain such a criticism, you have to hypothesize that Bailey is being
      deliberately deceptive and manipulative. That is at best uncharitable, and quite
      at odds with my own limited experience of Bailey."

      My response:

      You are correct. It is an anecdote and not a scientifically controlled
      experiment. And that is the precisely the problem with this anecdote and
      others which Bailey cites in support of his theory. I, again, observe, with
      modification, what I observed as one of the methodological weaknesses in Bailey'
      s use of personal anecdotes at the end of my first essay, which was Part I of my
      critique. Judged against a sound social-scientific methodology, Bailey's
      methodology for making a convincing case for his theory by citing anecdotal
      experiences, without any documented verification by independent, impartial and
      reliable observers, leaves much to be desired. To make a convincing case for
      the historic exercise of informal controlled oral tradition in Middle East
      villages, one would have to set up a number of controlled studies by trained
      cultural anthropologists, applying rigorous social-scientific methodology, to
      test whether informal controlled oral tradition is and has been historically
      exercised in such villages as a modus operandi to preserve faithfully the
      integrity of oral tradition.

      With respect to your statement, "To sustain such a criticism, you have to
      hypothesize that Bailey is being deliberately deceptive and manipulative. That
      is at best uncharitable, and quite at odds with my own limited experience of
      Bailey," I hope, by virtue of what I have stated earlier in this essay, that
      it is clear that I do *not* think that "Bailey is being deliberately deceptive
      and manipulative."

      You state with respect to my critique of the seventh anecdote: "(7) This is
      becoming unfair. The point being illustrated here is not the way control was
      exercised, but the way the core of the tradition which would be told, perhaps
      only for a few days or weeks, was being formed and agreed, to ensure that it
      would provide the stability of the tradition in future tellings of the

      My response:

      If I am being unfair, I do not mean to be. I think you are right in stating
      that "[t]he point being illustrated here is not the way control was exercised."
      And furthermore, the incident does not take place in a *haflat samar* setting,
      but rather in a worship service. It is true that the elder was involved in
      helping the congregation to commit the story to memory. But his involvement
      here does not seem to be for the purpose of exercising informal controlled oral
      tradition. For the congregants' purpose in committing the story to memory
      appears to be for a different purpose than the purpose that engenders the
      recitation of oral tradition in a *haflat samar*. And it is at this point that
      I see their purpose in a different way from you. You submit that their purpose
      was related to "the way the core of the tradition which would be told, perhaps
      only for a few days or weeks, was being formed and agreed, to ensure that it
      would provide the stability of the tradition in future tellings of the

      The congregants' purpose for the learning story, as I read Bailey's account, was
      to enable them "to retell the [new] story [he used in his preaching] that week
      across the village and they had to learn it on the spot." That is, as I
      interpret it, the purpose in learning the story was to enable the congregants
      to tell the story to other villagers who were not part of their congregation.
      Moreover, it does not sound to me like the congregants were trying to learn a
      new story that was integral to their identity, which is the type of story that,
      according to Bailey, is subjected to the methodology of informal controlled oral
      tradition in the *haflat samar.* Thus, the anecdote does not, in my judgment,
      clearly and irrefutably attest to the validity of Bailey's theory. And again,
      I think that the onus is on Bailey to make that case. Is that an unfair

      You state with respect to my critique of the eighth anecdote: "(8) Oh dear, Ted,
      you're evidently determined to do Bailey down at all costs. The point here is
      obviously that Dagher by departing from the usual ending created a fresh
      tradition, which made its impact precisely by its troping effect, one so
      pertinent to the current situation. It is that new revision which reverberated
      round the region. When a famous plot like that of Shakespeare's Othello is given
      a quite different setting and a subtley different ending, we don't conclude that
      the tradition of performing Shakespeare's Othello has been undermined. No! we
      relish the new twist precisely because we know and (continue to) cherish the
      original tradition so much."

      My response:

      I am still having difficulty with what I see as a contradiction between the
      methodological canon of informal controlled oral tradition which renders the
      punch line of a traditional story, such as a parable, inviolate and the fact
      that Dagher does in fact change the punch line of a traditional parable. And
      Bailey leads us to believe that it was the Dagher version of the parable that
      achieved notoriety and, thus, was henceforth recited in the Middle East. For
      Bailey states, that the Dagher version of "the parable survived in the
      protestant circles and was retold all across the Middle East. Indeed, in the
      summer of 1984 the parable was repeated to me intact in Bristol, England, by a
      witness who had heard it in the Jordan in the late sixties. Such is the
      strength of *informal controlled* oral tradition in the Middle East" [emphasis:
      Bailey] (_AJT_, 48).

      So now there seems to be two versions of the same parable, with Dagher's version
      now making the greatest impact and impression on people because of its
      existential relevance to a volatile Middle East situation (see Bailey's
      depiction of the situation in Part II of my critique of Bailey's theory).
      That sounds a lot like what happened in the case of early Christian communities.
      They revised Jesus parables to coincide with and to speak to the existential
      *Sitz* of their own experience. Consider, for example, the five different ways
      in which the Parable of the Sower" was told, namely by Jesus originally (see my
      suggested reconstruction, "The Reconstructed Parable of the Sower,"
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/messages, Archives, #7128), by the
      three respective Synoptic authors, and by the author of the Gospel of Thomas,
      and in particularly the variations in the sequential enumeration in the parable'
      s punch line ("30-60-100" [the historical Jesus and Mark]; "60-120" [Thomas];
      "100-60-30" [Matthew]; "100" [Luke]).

      With respect to your Shakespearean analogy, it does not strike me that your
      analogy works for the point you are making with respect to the Dagher revision
      of the traditional parable. First of all the analogy fits better as an analogy
      for a case of *formal* controlled (oral?) tradition. For in the case of
      Shakespeare's Othello we are dealing with the fixed textuality of the
      "canonical" version of Shakespeare's play. Thus the variation in the ending
      in your illustration is always recognized as a novel variation of the original
      cherished tradition, and not the authentic, original tradition itself. Bailey,
      as you know, provides a number of examples of formal controlled oral tradition
      (from the recitation of the textuality of the Psalter by a taxi driver [_ET_,
      364] to the recitation of the textuality of the entire Qur'an by an eight-year
      old Egyptian boy [_AJT_, 38]), which would be analogous to your Shakespearean

      Second, in the Shakespearean analogy, as well as the other examples of formal
      controlled oral tradition, there can never be any confusion as to which version
      is the more original. Textuality permanently fixes that order. But that may
      not be the case with orality. Since there is no text to serve as the fixed
      "original" version of a story in orality, it is possible that a more recent
      version of a story, such as Dagher's parable might be viewed as the more
      original, because it speaks better to the existential needs of the community.
      And consequently "the original" could in time be considered a later alteration
      of what is perceived over the course of time as "the original." The result
      could be that the perceived original, because it is the favorite version of the
      community and considered original, would be sure to survive through several
      generations, whereas "the authentic original" might be consigned to
      forgetfulness, or suffer the fate preventive censorship (a la Werner Kelber, see
      my Part II).

      From my perspective, that is "the Pandora's box" which Dagher's revision of the
      traditional parable opens. The preferred punch-line ending of the Dagher
      version of the parable could cause the traditional parable to be consigned to
      forgetfulness or even eventual preventive censorship. But how could that
      happen? Let me illustrate by drawing upon Bailey's own example of why a punch
      line of a story, along with other features of a story, must be inflexibly
      preserved, a la informal controlled oral tradition. I quote Bailey again on
      why the central thrust of a story can never be changed, according to the
      methodological canons of informal controlled oral tradition (_AJT _ , 42): "The
      storyteller [has] a certain freedom to tell the story in his own way as long as
      the central thrust of the story [is] not changed. So here [is] continuity and
      flexibility. Not continuity and change. The distinction is important.
      Continuity and change could mean that the storyteller could change 15% of the
      story---any 15%. Thus after seven transmissions of the story theoretically
      *all* [emphasis: Bailey] of the story could be changed."

      I contend that Dagher's alteration in the thrust of the traditional parable is
      analogous to Bailey's first 15% change. Since that "15%" change was accepted
      without challenge in Dagher's performance of it and now is the popular version
      of the traditional parable, what is to prevent Dagher, or any other respected
      authority, from instituting the next "15%" change in the parable (now recited in
      its Dagher version), in order for the new change to speak to new existential
      situations to which the Dagher version can no loner adequately speak--- and so
      on, an so on? As far as I can tell, nothing. And for that reason, I think
      that Bailey's use of the Dagher episode to illustrate "the process of entering
      *new material* [emphasis: Bailey] into this form of tradition" backfires on him.
      The Dagher anecdote works against his theory, not for it.

      But someone may wish to reply to my argument I am making for the potential that
      an original historic story of a community's oral tradition could be replaced by
      a legendary account: "Of course it is possible that could happen. Anything is
      possible. What evidence do you have that moves out of the realm of
      possibilities to the arena of reality?"

      My evidence for a case in which that apparently did happen can be found in the
      story that both Rena Hogg (215) and Kenneth Bailey (_AJT_, 46f.) recount---
      though with some significant differences, as I pointed out in my first essay
      (Part I)--- regarding the incident in which John Hogg was accosted by robbers.
      Bailey presents the story, which he heard in the 1950s and 60s, as the authentic
      account of Hogg being waylaid by robbers. Rena Hogg records in 1914 the same
      basic story which Bailey heard. But then she proceeds to debunk that story as
      nothing more than a "romantic tale" (215)" and as a prime example of how "fact
      and fancy mingle in such current lore" about her father (214). And then,
      having cited the bogus story, she proceeds to declare the following (215): "It
      seems heartless to destroy so romantic a tale. With that, she recounts the
      true story of what actually happened when her father was confronted by a robber
      band, stating that, by way of introduction, "the original story itself deserves
      preservation as recounted by the chief actors Dr. Hogg and Mr. Shenoodeh Hanna,
      his companion on the historic occasion" (215).

      Despite Rena Hogg's commitment to preserve "the original story," the village for
      which episode served as part of its oral tradition, did not seem to share that
      same commitment. For whatever reason, it replaced the original story with the
      bogus story and apparently passed it off to Bailey as "the original." And the
      original, which Rena Hogg sought to preserve, was either consigned to
      forgetfulness or it suffered the fate of preventive censorship. In any event,
      it is clear that the village, at the time of Rena Hogg's visit, was not
      practicing the methodology of informal controlled oral tradition, and apparently
      had not been practicing it for some time before that. In fact, ironically and
      absolutely devastating to Bailey's theory, Rena Hogg recounts the bogus story
      "as related [to her] by a fine old patriarch" (214), a village *patriarch,* who,
      according to Bailey's theory, would at the time have been an elder authority in
      the village's *haflat samar* and who would have had the responsibility, via the
      methodology of informal controlled oral tradition, of ensuring that the oral
      tradition about John Hogg was authentically preserved and faithfully recited and
      transmitted to future generations. It is obvious that in the case of this one
      patriarch he was not only not practicing informal controlled oral tradition, but
      he was in fact disseminating at least one legendary tale about the community's
      founder, John Hogg.

      Thus, finally, my point: at some moment in the course of the evolution of the
      oral tradition about John Hogg, the bogus account of what happened replaced the
      original historical account. And when Dagher opened "Pandora's Box" by
      changing the first "15%" of the "sacrosanct" inviolable ending of the parable,
      according to the methodology of informal controlled tradition, he began the
      process that could eventually lead to the "oral death" of the authentic,
      original parable, in much the same way that at some point in the course of the
      evolution of the oral tradition about John Hogg, the bogus account of him being
      accosted by robbers replaced the original historical account of that incident in
      the oral tradition of the village.

      You state with respect to my critique of the ninth anecdote: "(9) Are you not
      missing/ignoring the main point: that Bailey heard the story several times, and
      always the core was the same (the gun fired). You focus on the latter point of
      the fuller version, NOT a different version, which includes the account given to
      the police - not as a 'fictionalizing' (such a Western way of looking at it!).
      Bailey tells us that the police knew what happened; the report to the police was
      just a way of conveying to the police the judgment of the community - not to
      mislead them. The same point was made by the form of the core element, constant
      in all the versions Bailey heard. THAT is Bailey's point. Your lengthy focus on
      the report to the police is a red herring. I don't see it in any way disturbing
      Bailey's case."

      My response:

      I am Western and I do think in a Western way. But I also try to be open to
      other ways of thinking. However, my issue is not with Bailey hearing the same
      story in the same way several times upon returning to the village following the
      tragic accident. My issue is that the end result of both the account given to
      the police and the account recited subsequently in the community is that what
      actually happened in that tragic event has been altered, and the truth of what
      happened no longer orally survives. My reasoning for making such a statement
      is as follows.

      Bailey introduces the story by sharing these pertinent facts. A wedding took
      place "in the village of Dayr al-Barsha in the south of Egypt in 1958. I was
      out of the village and missed the wedding. At village weddings, hundreds, or
      even thousands, of rifle rounds are fired into the air in celebration. Much of
      the ammunition is old and the guns are fired carelessly. At times, as in this
      case, tragedy results. In the celebrations after the wedding ceremony a friend
      of the groom fired his rifle. The gun did not go off. He lowered the gun and
      then the defective bullet fired, passed through the groom who was instantly
      killed" (_AJT_, 48). In this scenario, described by Bailey, there are two
      parties, and only two, directly involved in this tragedy, the groom, whose name
      we learn later is Burus, and the groom's friend, whose name we also learn is
      Hanna. I think it is fair to conclude, based upon Bailey's presentation of the
      above, that in this wedding celebration, Burus, died as a result of a shot fired
      from Hanna's rifle.

      Now Bailey interpretatively introduces the fact that it is characteristic of
      such celebrations for guns to be fired carelessly and that much of the
      ammunition used in firing is old. I take it that, in supplying this
      information, Bailey believed and wants us to understand that Hanna did not
      intentionally shoot Burus. The death of the Burus was a tragic accident that
      ensued as a result of carelessness upon the part of Hanna and the fact that
      Hanna was using old ammunition to fire his gun in celebration. Nevertheless,
      Burus was shot to death and the bullet that killed him came from Hanna's gun.
      Thus, Hanna did in fact shoot Burus. Carelessness, old ammunition, or
      whatever, when it comes to assessing responsibility for the death of Burus,
      Hanna bears responsibility for Burus' death.

      But that scenario and assessment of responsibility is not what was reported to
      Bailey when "[a] week later [he] returned to the village without knowledge of
      the tragedy." What was reported to him was the following: "Hanna fired the
      gun. The gun did not go off. He lowered the gun. The gun fired
      (*durib-al-bundugiyya* [passive]). The bullet passed through the stomach of
      Burus. He died. He did not cry out, 'O my father,' nor 'O my mother'
      (meaning, he died instantly without crying out). When the police came we told
      them, 'A camel stepped on him'" (_AJT_, 48).

      In this climax reported to Bailey, the scenario has been substantively altered,
      as has also the assessment of responsibility for the death of Burus. In this
      scenario, which is really a combination of two subplot scenarios, the
      "characters" in this tragic drama have changed. In the subplot scenario
      presented to the police a camel is introduced into the tragic scene. Now
      there are three participants directly involved in this tragedy, namely, Burus,
      Hanna and a camel. In this version of the scenario it is not Hanna who kills
      Burus with a shot from his gun. But it is the camel who kills Burus by
      stepping on him..

      In the scenario developed for the benefit of community recitation, God is
      introduced into the scene as an active participant. Bailey states that in the
      community's account of the tragedy, the community used, "the Divine passive verb
      (so common in Luke). [Thus:] 'The gun fired (passive). God fired the God'"
      (_AJT_, 49). In a similar way in which the camel is introduced into the police
      report and made responsible for the death of Burus, God is introduced as an
      active participant in the community's *canonical* [emphasis: TJW] recitation of
      the story, and God is made responsible for the death of Burus. It is God, in
      the community's internal recitation, who fired the God that killed Burus.

      Now it is clearly apparent to me from Bailey's introductory account of the
      incident that he does not mention that God as an active participant. It is
      also apparent to me that God was not initially considered to have been an active
      participant by those who experienced seeing Burus shot by a bullet fired from
      Hanna's gun. I draw that conclusion again from the following information
      supplied by Bailey: "When a death like this occurs the critical question
      becomes: is the family of the dead man going to blame the person who held the
      gun (in which case blood vengeance must be exacted and said person will be
      killed by the groom's family), or has the grieving family accepted the tragedy
      as an act of God (in which case some payment will be made but the police will be
      told nothing and sent back to their provisional headquarters)? *So, after
      about three days, the community decided together that this was an act of God*"
      (_AJT_,49) [emphasis: TJW]. It was a "theological decision," so Bailey states
      ( _AJT_, 49), that led the community "*after about three days*" to insert God as
      an active participant in the report of the incident and to make God responsible
      for firing the gun that killed Burus.

      Again, in Bailey's introductory account of this tragedy God is not an active
      participant--- a fact Bailey, himself knew and the rest of the community
      apparently also knew. But Bailey's version which is apparently a reasonably
      accurate reporting of what Bailey learned "really" happened and what the
      community knew "really" happened was squelched via the rule of preventive
      censorship. What was substituted for the squelched reality was a fictive
      account in which God is the killer. And in squelching the actual facts of the
      tragic incident, both the *official police* version of the incident and the
      internal community version of the incident a disconnect has occurred between
      actual reality and the reporting of the incident in oral tradition.

      I restate what I said in my essay. The fact that such a disconnect from reality
      can be not only tolerated but intentionally engineered by a community in the
      recitation of its oral tradition is extremely damaging to the efficacy of Bailey
      's theory. For, again, as I understand it, a community's employment of the
      methodology of informal controlled oral tradition is meant to ensure and assure
      that one can have a direct link from the most recent recitation of an
      oral-tradition story, for example, back to the original ear or eye witnesses'
      accurate account of the factual actuality because that factual actuality has
      been faithfully preserved within that story in its multitudinous recitations
      throughout the history of the community.

      But, to the contrary, if a community also employs the rule of preventive
      censorship, as was the case with the community in the tragic wedding anecdote,
      then it has effectively caused a disconnect from the factual actuality of the
      past by squelching any reported semblance to that actuality and fictionalizing
      "history" to fit the community's own, self-constructed social identity and to
      meet the demands for its own well-being. I ask again here: of what value is
      Bailey's theory for assuring the authentic preservation of a community's oral
      tradition if such "disconnects" via preventive censorship are also permitted and
      operative in a community? With preventive censorship serving as the modus
      operandi for making sure that events and their reporting cohere with the
      community's identity, you could, in the worst case scenario, have through all
      oral transmissions an accurate and faithful preservation of a community's
      carefully constructed oral tradition of a revisionist, fictionalized history, a
      historical remembrance that reinforces the self-conceived identity of a
      community, but is in fact an oral tradition that in effect represents a
      "disconnect" from actual reality.

      Finally with respect to the burden of proof to which the anecdotes have been
      subjected as a result of "the Rena Hogg evidentiary disaster," the weight of
      such a burden to validate Bailey's theory, my judgment, is too much for them to
      bear. It is too much to bear because of a fundamental methodological weakness
      in using anecdotal experiences derived from oral tradition, particularly
      anecdotal experiences uncorroborated by impartial, independent witnesses, as is
      the case with Bailey's anecdotes. That methodological weakness, as I stated
      in my essay, is this: oral witness used to substantiate the theory of informal
      controlled oral tradition cannot be subjected to any empirical test that would
      verify, short of written record, that the recitation of a story in one time
      corresponds closely, according to Bailey's canons of the methodology informal
      controlled oral tradition, to the telling of the same story at a more distant
      time of past history. And most telling against Bailey's theory is the fact
      that, in the one case where there is written record of the recitation of oral
      tradition of the past that can be compared with a more recent recitation of the
      present--- namely, Rena Hogg's 1914 record of the recitation of oral tradition
      in the John Hogg founded communities vis-a-vis Bailey's report of the recitation
      of that oral tradition in the 1950s and 60s--- for the purpose of determining
      whether informal controlled oral tradition has historically practiced in an
      orality based and orality dependent community, Bailey's theory fails the test.

      You conclude your response to my critique with the following: "In the point you
      draw from Kelber you miss the fact that at the beginning of the oral tradition
      is the impact which the mission (words and actions) of Jesus made on those who
      formulated the tradition, not least as itself an expression of that impact.
      Unless you give place for the creative force which began the tradition and which
      thus began to determine the groups/communities who shared that impact, then you
      miss a key factor and are left only with communities manipulating tradition to
      their own ends.

      My response:

      Given the already lengthy character of this post, I think it best that I reply
      to you on this matter in another post, if you would like me to do so.

      Jimmy, let me thank you for taking time and giving the thoughtful response you
      have to my critique. I would greatly appreciate any response you may have to
      my replies here.

      Best regards,

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