Re: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book
- Mark-This could be flawed the other way. Quite a few scholars see oral societies as having virtually photographic memories with the ability to recite entire passages verbatum. They cite current oral societies as having this ability.Tom
Thank you for engaging, too. The reading I have been doing about eyewitness testimony and human memory suggests to me that there is a somewhat different way of looking at how Thomas and the Synoptics may have formed. I have found the points you have made in analysing the issues raised by the texts really helpful, but I think that there may be another way of explaining them. I’ve also read recent papers by Paul Foster and Robert McIver which have added some other ideas. I have been trying for several months to find the mental space to pull everything together but it’s a very busy time of year for me because our academic year is only four weeks old, and I haven’t been able to do so. I am hoping that I will get it done after Easter. I don’t think that the bottom-up form-critical thinking works all that well, either, but the redactional model that you present doesn’t quite seem to work either.
One issue I have with redactional models is that they imply that a later author takes someone else’s work and makes deliberate, calculated decisions to change it to fit the later author’s particular theological perspective. This doesn’t sit particularly well with me because I would like to think that the authors of the gospels were faithful people of good will who were recording the good news about Jesus as they understood it rather than deliberately trying to shape their audiences’ understanding by altering the tradition that was handed down by others. Another issue I have is that I think it relies too heavily on written text and while I agree that there has been a swing too far the other way, with orality being over emphasised, I would like to look more at the intersection between human memory and the oral phase of transmission. Thus, a model that allows for the development of variations over time and out of communities of faith and with some emphasis on oral transmission seems to me to be more in line with what would/should/could have happened.
So at the moment I am saying that the general idea of a rolling corpus fits better with my understanding than something that produces a version at one point in time. In a month’s time, I might be saying something different. J I think, incidentally, that Funk is wrong to say that simpler = earlier. Human memory studies on the handing down of stories suggest that it works the other way – as time goes on, the story gets simpler and simpler. Other forces, however, come into play, so I don’t think we can be dogmatic about it either way.
- On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 11:25 AM, Judy Redman <jredman2@...> wrote:
One issue I have with redactional models is that they imply that a later author takes someone else’s work and makes deliberate, calculated decisions to change it to fit the later author’s particular theological perspective.I thought that was basically the intent behind Goodacre's use of the term "knowledge of" rather than "literarily dependent upon." I realize that Tony Burke's review basically conflates the two concepts, but I think it should be underscored that Mark's approach is more nuanced than that.Stephen--Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)Post-Doctoral Fellow, Theology, Uppsala
Hopefully the image used can show what is wrong with this reasoning, and why fewer and fewer scholars adopt the stance if they have kept up to date on the study of orality and memory. "Photographic" memory is the ability to recall what was seen or read. But the more one is dealing with an oral society, the more on has to talk about memory functioning in the absence of a written text which makes words available pictorially.
With such a text available, in a society with literacy, one can read and repeat the same words over and over again and commit them to memory that way. But that requires writing as a means to memorization. Without such a visual or other verbatim transcript, the very notion of repeating the exact same words becomes meaningless and at best impossible to verify.
Dr. James F. McGrath
Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature
--- In email@example.com, Tom Reynolds <tomreynolds_ilan@...> wrote:
> This could be flawed the other way. Quite a few scholars see oral societies as having virtually photographic memories with the ability to recite entire passages verbatum. They cite current oral societies as having this ability.
In Response To: Judy Redman
On: Redactional Models
Judy: One issue I have with redactional models is that they imply that a later author takes someone else’s work and makes deliberate, calculated decisions to change it to fit the later author’s particular theological perspective.
Bruce: That’s a rather pejorative way of putting it; it equates growth with corruption. Such things undoubtedly do happen (I have had editors either subtract my thoughts, or add their own, in a piece of mine which they are preparing for a collective volume, and I resent it enormously). But text growth can also occur if the author remains the same (or a series of text proprietors remains consecutive). An author (or proprietor; say the leader of a church) who still retains control of his original can at any time make changes in it, or add explanations to it, or supplement it with additional illustrations (just as I earlier today posted a revised version of my abstract for the SBL/EGL meeting next week). When (as frequently in Mark) we see a clearly interpolated passage, which nevertheless is present in all the manuscripts and thus does not come under suspicion of being a scribal change or other kind of subsequent alteration, we may well be in the presence of an authorial augmentation.
I don’t see a narrative mainthread in gThos, and I also don’t see a systematic plan of exposition. If these are lacking, there is no easy test of interpolated material. The only suggestive points, as far as I can see, would be the ones DeConick is pointing to: doctrinal inconsistency. I would still like to see someone either confirm or refute her list of inconsistent passages, or at the other end of the scale, deal with her too-consistent doublets.
If this list should not be thought a proper venue for those exercises, I would be glad to hear from any analytically-minded persons off-list.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst