Orality, Memory, Performance Criticism, and Related Disciplines
Networking Event at AAR/SBL in Boston
Friday Nov 17, 2017 4:30-6:00pm
Hynes Convention Center Room: 310 (Third Level).
By Jonathan G. Kline
This book focuses on the way the biblical writers used allusive soundplay to construct theological discourse, that is, in service of their efforts to describe the nature of God and God's relationship to humanity. By showing that a variety of biblical books contain examples of allusive soundplay employed for this purpose, Kline demonstrates that this literary device played an important role in the growth of the biblical text as a whole and in the development of ancient Israelite and early Jewish theological traditions.
From the conclusion:
"That the biblical writers could produce significant exegetical payoff by changing or rearranging the sounds of even a single word from the textual tradition they inherited indicates that they considered that tradition--even in its tiniest details--to contain (sometimes multiple) developing meanings and to be significant not only for the past but also, and perhaps especially, for the present and the future." (p. 123)
by Margaret M. Mitchell
Forthcoming Nov 2017 from Mohr-Siebeck
The essays by Margaret M. Mitchell collected in this volume were published over a roughly twenty-five year span of time, and range in scope from the treatment of a two-word phrase (περὶ δέ, “now concerning,” in 1 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians) to the role of “the written record” in the formation, diffusion, and ultimate success of the Gentile Christ-believing mission in the first three centuries. At the heart of these studies are two main claims: an insistence that it was by no means predictable that textuality would be a crucial medium of the Christ-believing apocalyptic missionary movements, and the contention that in a significant way it was the influence of the self-styled “apostolic envoy,” Paul, that made it so. This extends from the flexible poetics of his accordion-like “gospel narrative” that could be expanded and contracted to encompass and address with sophistication all kinds of issues in occasion-specific written texts, to the theological grounding of that gospel proclamation κατὰ τὰς γραφάς (“according to the scriptures,” 1 Cor 15:3–4), to the religious logic of “envoyage” and “epiphany” that animated his self-understanding of mediated presence of Jesus Christ crucified, to the powerful poetics of epistolary literature that enabled the absent Paul to speak from a distance and so even the dead Paul to continue to speak to generation after generation in a trans-local and trans-temporal religious community formed in relation to these texts, their claims, and their ritual embodiments. The story of the development of an early Christian literary culture is not ancillary to a proper study of the “rise of Christianity” but is a key to it, the isolation of a major strand of its DNA and its processes for replication across time and space.
Contextualizing Israel’s Sacred Writings: Ancient Literacy, Orality, and Literary Production
Brian B. Schmidt, editor
Reviewed in RBL 03/2017.
From the review by Gareth J. Wearne:
"The significance of this volume is twofold : it represents a timely reflection on the state of the field by some of its leading participants; and it contains several important — and at times challenging — steps forward in the ongoing dialogue at the interface between literacy and orality in ancient Israel and Judah. As such, it will no doubt serve as a major reference and point of departure for future studies. To take just one example, a theme that is reflected in a number of the essays is the political Sitz im Leben of writing: writing was primarily a function of, and sponsored by, the state, not temples. This raises profound questions for the textualization of supposedly cultic and liturgical materials in the Hebrew Bible, such as the Psalms and the Priestly materials."