Thursday, September 19, 2013

NT Pod 66: Oral Tradition and the Game of "Telephone"

It's been far too long since we've had an NT Pod!

I've put out a new episode tonight, NT Pod 66: Oral Tradition and the Game of "Telephone".

It relates to something that has come up here before, the question of whether the game of "telephone" (known in the UK as "Chinese Whispers") is a good analogy for the early Christian traditioning process, discussed in a post on The Gospels and the Telephone Game.  See too Missives from Marx.

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1 comment:

Michael Barber said...

As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed the podcast. 'll use this podcast in my graduate Synoptic Gospels and Acts course this Fall!

This was a timely release given the recent release of James D.G. Dunn's highly anticipated book, The Oral Gospel Tradition. By the way, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this new book.

The telephone game is indeed a problematic analog to the Gospel tradition for the reasons you highlighted.

I might add that it also assumes that there were multiple "generations" (language I have actually seen used) of "traditioning" behind the Gospel text. Certainly the Gospel was written decades after Jesus died and even if it does contain some eye-witness testimony, it is certainly fair to think that there have been previous performances of its material. How many iterations did the author go through himself before the text reached the "canonical" version?

Still, how do we know how many tradents stand between the original disciples' reports and the author of the Gospel? Assumptions made here are often rarely examined closely.

And, of course, other complexities could also be mentioned. You did a fine job synthesizing it all without going into a long windy explanation.

Thanks for the stimulating conversation! Looking forward to the next one!