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Speaking of Jesus: "Oral Tradition" beyond the Form Critics (handout)

Speaking of Jesus: "Oral Tradition" beyond the Form Critics (handout)

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Published by Rafael Rodriguez
This handout accompanies my paper, "Speaking of Jesus: 'Oral Tradition' beyond the Form Critics," presented at the 2011 SECSOR meeting (Louisville, KY).
This handout accompanies my paper, "Speaking of Jesus: 'Oral Tradition' beyond the Form Critics," presented at the 2011 SECSOR meeting (Louisville, KY).

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Rafael Rodriguez on Mar 04, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/15/2013

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Rafael Rodríguez, PhD Speaking of Jesus: “Oral Tradition” beyond the Form Criticsrrodriguez@jbc.edu SECSOR (March 2011)Johnson Bible College (Knoxville, TN) Louisville, KY
EY
W
ORDS
: oral tradition; media criticism; form criticism; Jesus tradition; orality
O
UTLINE
:
 
1. I
NTRODUCTION
:
 
T
HE
EVOLUTION AROUND
U
S
 
Kelber’s conceptualization of “orality” asserted itself in his reading of 
written
texts, a movewhich I find revolutionary among biblical scholars.
2.
 
W
ERNER 
ELBER AND THE
F
ORM
C
RITICS
 
Despite the sophistication of his media-critical perspective, Kelber betrays certain influencesinherited from the form critics. These abiding influences aren’t an indictment against Kel-ber’s scholarship but rather an indication of the tenacity of form criticism’s legacy.
3.
 
T
HREE
N
EW
-
ISH
I
DEAS IN
B
IBLICAL
S
CHOLARSHIP
 
a. Conceiving “Oral Tradition”Contemporary media criticism exhibits considerable interest in “oral tradition,” as didtheir form-critical forebears. However, they conceptualize the referent of thatphrase 
oral tradition
in fundamentally different terms.b. Plotting Christian TraditionThe form-critical conception of 
oral tradition
as discrete, source-critical entities en-abled scholars to postulate evolutionary trajectories and triangulate forms of the tradi-tion predating our written sources. Contemporary media critics, in contrast, need toeschew evolutionary models in light of the reconfiguration of 
oral tradition
men-tioned in the previous section.c. Writing Voices, Speaking SignsTaking the role of 
oral tradition
seriously means approaching the gospels as “oral-derived texts,” and specifically as the kind of oral-derived text that John Miles Foleycalls “Voices from the Past.”
4.
 
C
ONCLUDING
EMARKS
 
If contemporary media criticism is to have any lasting effect on the academic study of theBible, it will need to disassociate itself from its form-critical legacy and posture itself as aparadigmatically new form of critical inquiry.
A
 
T
YPOLOGY OF
T
RADITIONAL
V
ERBAL
A
RT
:
composition: performance: reception:Oral Performance: oral oral auralVoiced Texts: written oral aural
Voices from the Past: oral/written oral/written aural/written
Written Oral Poems: written written written
Table 1: See John Miles Foley,
How to Read an Oral Poem
(Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002), 38–53.

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