Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re:[John_Lit] Readers

Expand Messages
  • Horace Jeffery Hodges
    A note of skepticism about some of the claims being made concerning memory in antiquity. There have been a lot of modern studies of memory by modern
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 3, 2001
      A note of skepticism about some of the claims being
      made concerning memory in antiquity.

      There have been a lot of modern studies of memory by
      modern psychologists and neurologists, and from what I
      have read of their work, I would be very surprised if
      it were common for people to remember every word
      spoken in a lengthy discourse upon a single occasion.

      Why do I say this? Because it has been shown that most
      of us have rather limited short-term memories -- I
      recall (or hope that I do) reading that our short-term
      memories can hold only 5 to 8 items of information at
      a time. So, for an individual to remember everything,
      he or she would have to transfer everything said by
      the speaker into his or her long-term memory at a
      rather rapid rate.

      Now, I realize that people in antiquity had techniques
      for remembering, and I guess that they had rhetorical
      devices for speaking in a way to make their words
      memorable, but I still find unlikely that people could
      commonly recall every word spoken in a long discourse
      upon a single occasion.

      Has anybody tested this assumption in contemporary
      oral cultures? I would be interested in knowing if my
      skepticism is misdirected.

      Jeffery Hodges

      =====
      Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
      Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
      447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
      Yangsandong 411
      South Korea

      __________________________________________________
      Do You Yahoo!?
      Buy the perfect holiday gifts at Yahoo! Shopping.
      http://shopping.yahoo.com
    • Bob Schacht
      ... Jeffrey, I d suggest you read Part II (Chapters 3-6) on Memory and Orality in Crossan s The Birth of Christianity as a good starting place. He will confirm
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 3, 2001
        At 04:14 PM 12/3/01 -0800, Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:
        >A note of skepticism about some of the claims being
        >made concerning memory in antiquity.
        >
        >There have been a lot of modern studies of memory by
        >modern psychologists and neurologists, and from what I
        >have read of their work, I would be very surprised if
        >it were common for people to remember every word
        >spoken in a lengthy discourse upon a single occasion.
        >
        >Why do I say this? Because it has been shown that most
        >of us have rather limited short-term memories -- I
        >recall (or hope that I do) reading that our short-term
        >memories can hold only 5 to 8 items of information at
        >a time. So, for an individual to remember everything,
        >he or she would have to transfer everything said by
        >the speaker into his or her long-term memory at a
        >rather rapid rate.
        >
        >Now, I realize that people in antiquity had techniques
        >for remembering, and I guess that they had rhetorical
        >devices for speaking in a way to make their words
        >memorable, but I still find unlikely that people could
        >commonly recall every word spoken in a long discourse
        >upon a single occasion.
        >
        >Has anybody tested this assumption in contemporary
        >oral cultures? I would be interested in knowing if my
        >skepticism is misdirected.
        >
        >Jeffery Hodges

        Jeffrey,
        I'd suggest you read Part II (Chapters 3-6) on Memory and Orality in
        Crossan's The Birth of Christianity as a good starting place. He will
        confirm many of your worst fears. The chapters are written as a deliberate
        counterpoint to those who place great faith in the precision of oral memory.

        Bob
        Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
        Northern Arizona University
        Flagstaff, AZ
      • Horace Jeffery Hodges
        ... Actually, Jeffery . ... Thanks for the reference. I really should take a look at it. However, I want to clarify something since I seem to have been
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 3, 2001
          Bob Schacht wrote:

          > Jeffrey,

          Actually, "Jeffery".

          > I'd suggest you read Part II (Chapters 3-6) on
          > Memory and Orality in Crossan's The Birth of
          > Christianity as a good starting place. He will
          > confirm many of your worst fears. The chapters are
          > written as a deliberate counterpoint to those who
          > place great faith in the precision of oral memory.

          Thanks for the reference. I really should take a look
          at it.

          However, I want to clarify something since I seem to
          have been misunderstood by Joe Gagne. I have great
          respect for the power of memory in oral culture -- and
          even for its power in contemporary culture, for we
          (post)moderns have far better long-term memories than
          we realize.

          If we can get things into our long-term memories, we
          can do a pretty good job of recalling them. I think
          that the good memory power of oral cultures is
          primarily long-term memory. If people who are trained
          to focus upon remembering are repeatedly presented
          with oral materials, then I think that they will
          eventually come to remember it very well -- even to
          its minute details.

          But -- to iterate -- concerning some claims that have
          been made about memory in oral culture:

          "I would be very surprised if it were common for
          people to remember every word spoken in a lengthy
          discourse upon a single occasion."

          I hope that I have now been better understood.

          Jeffery Hodges

          =====
          Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
          Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
          447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
          Yangsandong 411
          South Korea

          __________________________________________________
          Do You Yahoo!?
          Buy the perfect holiday gifts at Yahoo! Shopping.
          http://shopping.yahoo.com
        • Staley, Jeffrey
          ... memory in antiquity. Studies have also shown that remembering in primary oral cultures is not word for word --even when those people doing the
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 4, 2001
            Jeffrey Staley writes:

            >Another note of skepticism about some of the claims being made concerning
            memory in antiquity.

            Studies have also shown that "remembering" in primary oral cultures is not
            "word for word"--even when those people doing the "remembering think it is.
            When tape recordings are made of different performances, the "recitations"
            are rarely, if ever, exactly the same. I'm not sure if this was Lord's
            analysis, or some more recent study. Tom Thatcher may help us here.

            Jeff
          • John N. Lupia
            To List: John Dominic Crossan, The birth of Christianity : discovering what happened in the years immediately after the execution of Jesus (San Francisco:
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 4, 2001
              To List:

              John Dominic Crossan, The birth of Christianity : discovering
              what happened in the years immediately after the execution of
              Jesus (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998), Part II
              (Chapters 3-6) on Memory and Orality; James D. G. Dunn,
              Jesus in Oral Memory: The Initial Stages of the Jesus Tradition;
              W. H. Kelber, The Oral and the Written Gospel (Philadelphia:
              Fortress, 1983); W. J. Ong, Orality and Literacy: The
              Technologizing of the Word (1982; London: Routledge, 1988); A.
              B. Lord, `The Gospels as Oral Traditional Literature', in W. O.
              Walker, ed., The Relationships Among the Gospels (San
              Antonio: Trinity University, 1978); etc, are not well informed on
              writing practices in the first century.

              As part of the discussion of the historical Jesus: concerning
              what he actually said or did, the methods used to record them
              become paramount. Ill informed opinions of the skeptics and
              cynics that rely exclusively on memory, oral culture and tradition,
              or mnemonic techniques for the transmission of Jesus' words
              and deeds find plenty of room to question the veracity of the
              Gospel texts.

              It has been erroneously assumed by several academic schools
              over the past few centuries that the Evangelists wrote from
              memory, a fact that cannot be substantiated and necessitates
              closing ones eyes to the historical realities of the currency of
              shorthand, an art that was already well over three hundred years
              in development and pervasive usage throughout the
              Graeco-Roman world.

              Notarii or tabellio (AGORAIOS and AGORONOMOS and
              SEMEIOGRAFOS or TAKUGRAFOS) were short-hand secretaries
              who could take dictation. Suetonius, Ennius, says that Quintus
              Ennius (239-169 BC) introduced notae, probably since he is
              regarded by the Romans as the father of Roman literature.
              However, cursive hand script for speed was used in Athens in
              B.C. 284, a century before Ennius' Aetolian campaign. So,
              shorthand was in wide usage throughout the Hellenistic world
              well before the Evangelists wrote their respective Gospels.
              Furthermore, Marcus Tullius Tiro, Cicero's amanuensis was one
              of many notarii noted to have contributed to the development of
              the art of stenography. He is credited with the invention of many
              shorthand symbols including the ampersand "&" sometimes
              called the "notae Tironianae" or "Tironian sign" a shorthand
              symbol of "et per se" in Latin where the "et" is emblemed in
              cursive script. This symbol substitution of words was found to
              be more efficacious than the older "arte brachygraphie".
              Brachygraphy was merely the omission of certain letters
              (examples employ ligatures, and in Christian scribes in nomina
              sacra) or the replacement of certain vowels or consonants by
              strokes which allowed for quicker writing and the text to fit into
              columns more conveniently. After Tiro we find shorthand or
              tachygraphy taught in Rome in various schools. Seneca claims
              to have complied or catalogued five thousand tachygraphic
              symbols. Suetonius, Vespasian, says that Vespasian could
              write shorthand with such dexterity and speed that he competed
              with scribes for sport. Actuarii was another name given to the
              notarii, short-hand clerks who recorded speeches in the senate,
              or who kept private accounts. To distinguish public from private
              records by notaries the Greeks used the phrase "EN AGUIA" as
              seen in P. Oxy, 722.12. Later, the title notarii became exclusive
              to the private secretaries of the emperor, and the title
              "exceptores" became that for short-hand clerks. "Librarii ab
              epistolis", sometimes called "ad manu", "a manu", and
              "amanuensis" were secretaries who took dictation for letters.
              The Berlin papyrus 8507 is a shorthand document of a
              senatorial speech during the reign of Claudius A.D. 41-54 which
              shows how widespread this art was by that date.

              Some early written accounts and speeches may have been
              recorded by apostles who acted as actuarii for the group. It is
              plausible that some Jewish disciples of Jesus had acted this
              way based on the Roman model of actuarii and notarii. These
              would have been stenographic transcriptions of two types of
              discourse: (1) acromatics (AKRAMAI), that is, private lectures
              given in "veiled language" only to his chosen disciples in the
              manner of Aristotle. For example, John 16,25 "I have spoken to
              you in veiled language" is part of a long acromatical discourse,
              which itself appears to be the "ipsissimum verbum Christum"
              recorded by a (St. John) scribal actuarii; (2) public preaching in
              the form of parables. In this regard the notion of the Gospels
              containing the "ipsissimum verbum Christum" is once again
              reopened.

              Cordially in Christ,
              John
              <><
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.