Re: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book
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