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Thursday, 2 June 2016
The Role of a Manuscript

Memory and Identity in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity,
Tom Thatcher ed., SBL, 2014, page 168-170

Dr Chris Keith now starts to look at the role of a manuscript in the transmission of Mark's gospel. Although the landscape has changed somewhat since Kelber's work in 1983 ...

... scholars still routinely overlook the significance of Mark's Gospel as a physical artifact, preferring instead to focus upon texts' effects upon oral tradition.

He then cites a number of other scholars who stress the 'oral' natuure of the gospel text, displaying a strong oral-perspective preference. If that is really sp, then why, Keith asks, did Mark produce a manuscript?

Whatever it meant in terms of content and context, upon textualisation the Gospel of Mark very clearly moved into the written medium. This fact does not require that the Gospel of Mark thereby left orality behind, but there is no point in denying its new media status.

Keith regrets this imbalance and some inaccurate statements:

An unfortunate side-effect of the oral-preference perspective in this regard has been a neglect of the Gospel of Mark's status as written text and its reflection of textual media dynamics. The time is thus ripe to complement these studies by considering the significance of what Mark adde to the transmission process - a manuscript.

Posted By Jonathan, 8:07am Comment Comments: 0