Oral Tradition and the New Testament

For inexperienced audiences, an oral-derived text must signal its performance arena rhetorically: “the ‘place’ where the work is experienced by a reader, the event that is re-created, must be summoned solely by textual signals” (Foley 1995:80; see 79–82). As text and audience become further removed from the text’s oral tradition, the presence and consequence of the performance arena for the text’s reception become increasingly irrelevant. However, as we will see with respect to Mark 1, written texts can suggest their appropriate context of reception for readers who are familiar with the texts’ larger traditional context.

See Also: Oral Tradition and the New Testament: (Guides for the Perplexed; Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2014)

By Rafael Rodriguez
Johnson University
November 2013

To read this article in its entirety, we have presented it here in PDF format.

Comments (2)

Good stuff. I am familiar with your school and was pleased to see you wrestle with Mark's "mistake".

#1 - Edward Mills - 11/07/2013 - 20:51

In your analysis, you tie the thematic element of the spirit driving (ekballw)very closely to exorcism. I worry about this as in the exorcism story of Mark 5:1-20, ekballw is not so used, especially, for example, in 5:8 and 5:12 where one might expect it. Might one rather see the driving of the spirit in Mark as a thematic leitmotif, much as we find in Judg 13:25; 14:6; 14:19 and 15:14, as well as in the Psalter; for example in Ps 3:10; 6:34; 18:2 and 18:21. I find it difficult to see an element of orality in Mark 1:12-13 in contrast to the commonplace intertextuality of texts within a common symbol system.
I look forward to reading your book.

#2 - Thomas L. Thompson - 11/29/2013 - 11:25

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