Sunday, 29 May 2016
Memory and Identity in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity,
Tom Thatcher ed., SBL, 2014, page 164
Dr Keith now examines the arguments in Werner Kelber's landmark work from the early 80s: "The Oral and the Written Gospel". Keith suggests that many of the answers currently being sought and produced are in response to Kelber's questions. Setting the context, Keith explains that:
For the form critics, the move from oral gospel tradition to written gospel tradition was significant insofar as it was the symbolic threshold between the two great eras of early Christianity that their model assumed as its fiundation: early Palestinian Christianity and later Hellenistic Christianity. The move from oral to written tradition was, however, insignificant for the fom critics from a media-critical perspective, since they saw no difference between the oral medium and the written medium.
It was as if the written gospels were the destination towards which the oral tradition was always going to be drawn; it was always going to end up there.
I wonder if we also see strands of the move away from a Jewish gospel tradition to Greek gospel tradition taking place at the same time. Were the early (and now lost) Hebrew vorlage pieces of the gospels essentially part of the oral tradition formally declared redundant when the Greek written gospels took over as the majority medium of communication of the story?