Imprints, Voiceprints, and Footprints of Memory: Collected by Werner H. Kelber

By Werner H. Kelber

Jesus and his fans outlined their allegiances and expressed their identities in a communications tradition that manifested itself in voice and chirographic practices, in oral-scribal interfaces, and in performative actions rooted in reminiscence. within the 16 essays amassed in Imprints, Voiceprints, and Footprints of reminiscence, Werner Kelber explores the verbal arts of early Christian observe processing operative in a media global that was once separated via millennia from our modern media historical past. The identify articulates the truth that the traditional tradition of voiced texts, hand-copying, and remembering is mainly available to us in print layout and predominantly assimilated from print views. The oral-scribal-memorial-performative paradigm built in those essays demanding situations the reigning historical-critical version in biblical scholarship. Notions of culture, the fixation at the unmarried unique asserting, the dominant technique of shape feedback, and the heroic labors of the hunt stalwart positive factors of the ancient, documentary paradigm are all topic to a severe evaluate. a couple of essays achieve past New testomony texts, starting from the pre-Socratic Gorgias via medieval manuscript tradition directly to print s victorious apotheosis in Gutenberg s Vulgate, manufactured from the excessive tech of the 15th century, all of the option to conflicting commemorations of Auschwitz taking tentative steps towards a background of media applied sciences, tradition, and cognition of the Christian culture within the West.

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The author, it seems, has spared little effort to sharpen the conflict between Jesus and the disciples and to thereby consolidate the outsider position of the latter. Above, we have reflected on the function of Mark 13 in relation to discipleship. Designed to correct false premises held by the disciples, the discourse predicts disaster as well as the coming of the Son of Man, while it requests rather than promises a continuing role for the disciples. But before making a premature judgment on the disciples’ postresurrectional status, it is well to remember that one “cannot judge the meaning of a story without attention to its outcome” (Tannehill 1977, 392 n.

The causes for this disregard are deeply rooted in theology and hermeneutics and far from being fully explored. On the neglect of Gospel narrative, see above all the masterful study of Hans Frei (1974). Here we can only touch on two principal causes. There is first the issue of story and history. New Testament hermeneutics has found it exceedingly difficult to appreciate the story about Jesus apart from reference to historical actuality. On the assumption that a Gospel is not merely related to but also arbitrated by Jesus’ historicity, exegesis is often inclined to read the story with assistance derived from the logic of history.

In view of the massive work undertaken by Eric A. Havelock (1963; 1978), Albert B. Lord (1960), and Walter J. Ong (1967b; 1977a; 1982) on orality, it should be obvious that form criticism paid lip service to the world of spoken words. Had form critics seriously sought to explore oral hermeneutics, as well as the processes of transformation of sounded words through textualization, they might well have concluded that preservation was not necessarily the Gospel’s primary function. Whether the appeal was to entitlement by apostolic authority, the cumulative force of tradition, the abiding effectiveness of an incipient core message, or to the impulse to stem the tide of forgetfulness—the Gospel was invariably viewed as preserver of tradition and guarantor of continuity.

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