Friday, 27 May 2016
Memory and Identity in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity,
Tom Thatcher ed., SBL, 2014, page 163
Chris Keith now moves towards the purpose of his particular essay: discussing why Mark, coming from an oral tradition, wrote his gospel so switching to a textual tradition. He says:
The contribution of this essay is therefore to provide a base for understanding Mark's written Gospel not just in terms of what it purportedly brought to an end in oral tradition but also in terms of what it commenced in textual tradition. If Mark's Gospel was anything in the ancient Christian media world, it was not the oral tradition's Grim Reaper but rather the catalyst for a new genre that harnessed the technology of writing and manuscripts in, at times, unprecedented ways.
This does, or course, beg an answer to the Synoptic Problem (with which I many not necessarily agree) - assuming the priority of Mark. But that aside, what a positive spin to see in the process. Keith concludes:
One can confidently affirm that Mark placed the Jesus tradition in a manuscript in order to escape the limitations of oral transmission.