PoppingUp4Air - Orality and Literacy Notes

Judy Redman - Popping Up For Air

-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.