Judy Redman - Orality and Literacy Notes

Orality and Literacy

-discussion based on how text-based our culture is.
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-Mark Goodacre - outside academic sub-culture, world dominated by orality.
-many more people get news thru TV, radio, oral media, than thru newspapers.
-many using newspapers combine w/ watching online vids, listening to podcasts, etc.
-he is avid Guardian reader - but not reading - also uses podcasts and vid material.
-(so is still orality).

-Redman says:
-lotsa non-text out there.
-big diff is in how we choose to preserve info we think important.
-we didn't stop using oral commun cuz we could write.
-we did choose more reliable way of passing on info we regard important - thru text.
-in oral culture - words spoken & once said, only record of them is memories of speaker and audience.
-untrained human memory not reliable medium for accurate preservation of info.
-oral cultures train(ed) people so info considered important retained more reliably.

-things mentioned above - podcasts, vids, etc, not as ephemeral as spoken word.
-podcasts available cuz people who make them want those not there to know exactly what was said.
-can be bookmarked or downloaded and played over and over.
-transcripts produced.
-same w/ vids.
-can tell when podcast not tightly scripted beforehand.
-poor viewing, ramble, lotsa time to view.
-podcasts to pass info can be too long and take big chunk of download limit.
-people ask for summary of them instead.
-SO, shift to oral/video not complete.

-now available to people who have easy access to Inet:
-now possible to preserve things that they and small group of people think important to make available to wider audience.
-(only 3% of world's population has easy access to Inet).
^^^
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-addressing something Loren Rosson quotes from Robert Fowler:
-re: characteristics of oral cultures - signif shift is development of sense of knitting people who have never met together into community.

-Redman says:
-this is illusory in her opinion and experience.
-much easier to maintain community w/ people don't have to get along w/ in real life.
-lotsa acquaintances via email -
-knows lots about them if emails are true.
-couple she believes would get along w/ and many so diff that only thing keeps them together is shared interest.
-wouldn't be enought to keep together in real-time.
-can ignore posts of some and delete posts, but can't ignore in real life.
-more obvious and destructive to community.

-there is type of community online - not tightly knit like physical communities.
-communities in oral cultures more tightly knit than our own culture living in today.
^^^

-SUMMARY:
-bottom line of what's important in defining if culture is literate or oral:
-what culture does to preserve info that is important.
-oral culture will use spoken word.
-literate culture will used text-based media.
-NOT just written word - medias she describes above are scripted so are text-based.
-we may be shifting towards being multi-media culture, but doesn't think we're going back to being oral.


Popping Up for Air Blog Entry

-ongoing discussion based on how text-based our culture is.
-follows first blog post.

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-remarks from following discussion of Mark Goodacre, April DeConick, and Stephen Carlson:
1)
- from her theology studies - lecturer describes way written text used in 1st century - SO, based on training of Greek rhetoricians.
-letter received by literate community member.
-they read thru it no. of times and prepare to orate to community.
-when familiar w/ text, community called together and given dramatic reading of text.
-only 10% community is literate, but have access to content of letter.

-people communicating message were literate - very literate.
-material of text communicated to vast majority orally.
-then passed around community orally.

-contrast:
-20th century - when written info shared, usually done by:
-giving printed copy of texts.
-electronic copies forwarded.
-SO, intended audience receives TEXT.
-are able to transmit info in oral/aural and visual form.
-BUT, normally, oral/aural is transmitted aurally and visual stays visual.
-very little crossover.

-modern tech makes easy for people to record and send info in oral form.
-have mobile phones and MP3 players.
-rules of oral expression much less strict than written expression.
-SO, is faster to produce oral communications.
-HOWEVER - IS FASTER FOR MOST PEOPLE TO ACQUIRE INFO IN WRITTEN FORM CUZ WE READ FASTER THAN AVERAGE PERSON CAN TALK.
-way in which we communicate info is changing but not moving back to being oral society.

2) after reading psych research literature on eyewitness testimony:
-need to make distinction between transmission of community tradition (important info) by skilled oral tradents AND passing on of experience and teachings by ordinary members of community who happened to hear and see. (in this case, heard and saw Jesus).
-first is VERY accurate.
-second is much less accurate, even in oral society.
^^^
-Comments: (concerning the Gospels)
-soon after Gospel was written, transmission "must have" been in written form and not oral.
-says this cuz not much time elapsed between writing of the 4 Gospels - each written in diff place.

-would take time (decades or more?) for ea Gospel to be appreciated enough to be read to congregants.
-believes literal transmission was what was involved - w/ oral transmission accounting for first writing.
-MY QUESTION: HOW MUCH TIME ELAPSED BETWEN ACTUAL EVENTS AND WRITING OF GOSPELS???
-HOW MUCH WAS EVENT CHANGED DUE TO PASSING ON BY ORAL TRADITION AND UNTRAINED MEMORIES??
-Redman responds:
-transmission moved fairly fluidly between written and oral.
-highly likely that copies of gospel texts moved from community to community in written form.
-less likely that the form that was current in any given community was transmitted in written form.

-the way things were copied provided room for variations to be introduced.
-copyists not above deliberately altering texts to correct what they saw as errors.
-if manuscript they're copying varied from version in circulation in community, they would either deliberately alter text or do so by accident. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-copyists didn't sit down at desk w/ copy of manuscript on in w/in easy view of new copy like we do.
-was more reliance on short term memory in copying. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-difficult to know at what points texts were considered to be "Scripture."
-probably more care in transmission of "Scripture" than stories/letters.