Gaping tussen die gebeure en die neerskryf daarvan

Hierdie artikel is deel 5 van ‘n 11-deel gesprek – sien die volgende:


Die gaping tussen die gebeure en die neerskryf van daardie gebeure in die stories oor Jesus:

Tweedens is daar die vraag na hoe betroubaar die oorspronklike getuienis oor die lewe van Jesus behoue gebly het voordat dit vir die eerste keer deur die evangelie-skrywers neergeskryf is. Die antwoord op hierdie vraag lê grootliks in die mondelingse tradisie van kulture soos die in eerste eeuse Palestina.

Gregory Boyd en Paul Eddy in hul boek, Lord or Legend? Wrestling with the Jesus Dilemma, verduidelik soos volg:

“We shall shortly argue that the case for accepting the early church tradition regarding the authorship and relatively early dating of the four Gospels is stronger than many suppose. But first we want to suggest that not too much hangs on this. That is, even if we grant that the Gospels were written between AD 70 and 100, as many scholars maintain, and even if we grant that we don’t know who wrote these works, this still doesn’t warrant the conclusion that these authors were not in a position to pass on reliable history.

In this regard it’s important to recall … three things that recent orality studies have taught us. First, orally dominant communities typically are invested in accurately preserving the memory of events that shape their communal identity. They have genuine historical concerns. Second, while tradents entrusted with the task of retelling a community’s oral traditions are allowed creative flexibility in how they express traditional material, the community as a whole typically assumes responsibility to ensure that the tradent’s creative performance doesn’t alter the substance of the tradition he or she is passing on. So it is, as many orality special­ists now argue, that orally dominant communities typically evidence the ability to reliably transmit historical material for long periods of time-in some cases, for centuries. And third, the role of writing in orally dominant communities is not to express an individual’s novel perspectives on some matter (such as it is with modern writing) but, as with oral performances, to recall and creatively re-express the community’s tradition. They are written with an oral rather than a literary register.

Putting these three considerations together, it should be clear that, whoever they were and whenever they wrote, we have reasons to accept that the Gospel authors were in a position to transmit reliable reports about Jesus. Unless we arbitrarily assume that the early Christian communities were remarkably atypical for orally dominant communities, the sheer fact that the Gospel authors wrote as tradents of an early church tradi­tion should incline us to accept this much. Had these authors expressed a vision of Jesus that was substantially inconsistent with the church’s oral tradition, the community never would have accepted them. And as we’ve argued … there is no reason to think the early Christian community’s orally transmitted vision of Jesus would have substantially morphed in the time prior to the writing of these works. Indeed, sixty years is not a significant stretch of time by the standards of oral traditions. In fact, within this time frame, it is more likely that we are dealing with “oral history” rather than “oral tradition” per se.

In summary, while we don’t need to accept the traditional authorship and early dating of these works to believe they were in a position to pass on reliable history, the evidence that they were written by the authors attested by the early church tradition and at a relatively early date only strengthens the case for their trustworthiness.”

Craig Blomberg beaam die mondelingse tradisie:

“Careful studies of ancient Jewish culture and surrounding nations demonstrate that oral traditions held sacred were preserved with remarkable care. The New Testament world was an oral culture, producing prodigious feats of memory. Rabbis at times had memorized the entire Scriptures (our Old Testament). Such abilities did not preclude the freedom to retell stories with all kinds of minor variation in detail so long as the point of each story or teaching was left intact. The alleged tendency of traditions to develop from simple to complex has been repeatedly refuted; if anything, there was a slight tendency to abbreviate more lengthy narratives…There is not a single piece of hard data demonstrating that early Christians felt free to create out of whole cloth sayings of Jesus which He never spoke. The most common way this assumption has been defended is by the idea of prophecy: New Testament prophets spoke in the name of the risen Lord and their words were allegedly later intermingled with those of the historical Jesus. But while such practices may have occurred with other gods or historical figures in nearby cultures, every reference to the words of Christian prophets inside and outside the New Testament canon makes it clear that they were not confused with the words of the earthly Jesus.”

James Dunn, nog ’n bekende Britse professor, verduidelik hoe die mondelingse tradisie oor Jesus in ‘n mondelingse kultuur sou kon onstaan het in sy boek A New Perspective on Jesus: What the Quest for the Historical Jesus Missed:

“…[T]he Jesus tradition was a way of remembering Jesus, showing how Jesus was remembered, and enabling us today still to share in these rememberings. My threefold thesis can be summed up simply. First, Jesus made an impact on those who became his first disciples, well before his death and resurrection. That impact was expressed in the first formulations of the Jesus tradition, formulations already stable before the influence of his death and resurrection was experienced. Second, the mode of oral performance and oral transmission of these formulations means that the force of that original impact continued to be expressed through them, not­withstanding or rather precisely because the performances were varied to suit different audiences and situations. As its lasting form still attests, the Jesus tradition was neither fixed nor static, but living in quality and effect. And third, the characteristic features running through and across the Jesus tradition give us a clear indication of the impression Jesus made on his disciples during his mission. As that doyen of British NT scholarship, C. H. Dodd, put it in his last significant book: “The first three gospels offer a body of sayings on the whole so consistent, so coherent, and withal so distinctive in manner, style and content, that no reasonable critic should doubt, whatever reservations he may have about individual sayings, that we find here reflected the thought of a single, unique teacher.”

Die feit dat die stories oor Jesus eers later neergeskryf is, word dus baie sterk onderlê deur die aard van ‘n mondelingse kultuur in daardie tyd en word geensins daardeur ondermyn nie. Dunn verduidelik:

“For no hypothesis is more vulnerable to reductio ad absurdum than the hypothesis of an exclusively literary explanation for the Synoptic tradition. Was there no Jesus tradition known and used and circulated before Mark (or Q) wrote it down? Of course there was. Was the tradition wholly inert until Mark gave it life by writing it down? Of course not. Did Mark have to seek out aging apostles or rummage for scraps in boxes hidden away in various elders’ houses in order to gather unknown, unused tradition and set it out in writing? Of course not. Was the tradition gathered by Mark known only to Mark’s church or circle of congregations? Surely not. And once Mark had gathered the tradition into his Gospel, did that mean that the tradition ceased to be oral? Of course not. Or again, when Matthew received Mark’s Gospel, are we to assume that this was the first time Matthew or his church(es) had come across this tradition? Of course not. …in an oral culture, tradition – oral tradition – is communal memory. A group’s tradition is the means by which the group affirms and celebrates what is important about its origins and about its past. …envisage little groups of disciples and sym­pathizers, their identity as a group given by their shared response to Jesus himself or to one of his disciples/apostles – little groups who met regularly to share the memories and the traditions that bound them together, for elders or teachers to tell again stories of Jesus and to expound afresh and elaborate his teachings.”

Dit is, soos Dunn dit stel, “a priori compelling to deduce that the Jesus tradition began as a matter of verbal formulation as the disciples talked together about the impact Jesus had made severally upon them.”

Vir Dunn is daar nie regtig ‘n ander teorie wat sin maak van die konteks waarbinne die geskrewe tradisie oor Jesus se lewe gestalte gekry het nie:

“…[W]e simply cannot escape from a pre­sumption of orality for the first stage of the transmission of the Jesus tradition. In a society that was so illiterate and where the great bulk of communication must have taken place in oral mode, it would be ludicrous either to assume that the whole history of the Jesus tradition was literary in character from start to finish or to make any thesis regarding the process of its transmission dependent in effect on such an assumption. I say this in response to various recent claims either that the Jesus tradition took literary form from the first, or that all differ­ences between parallel traditions, no matter how great, can be explained in terms of literary redaction. As indicated earlier, I do not for a moment deny that differences within the Synoptic tradition can be explained in terms of the literary paradigm. My question is whether they should be so explained, and whether in so doing we do not lose sight of important features of the Jesus tradition, the way it was regarded and handled, and what that tells us about the earliest communities that preserved it.”

Aansluitend by hierdie laaste gedagte sê Dunn die volgende:

“In recognizing the oral character of the early Jesus tradition, we have to give up the idea of a single original form from which all other versions of the tradition are to be derived, as though the “authenticity” of a version depended on our ability to trace it back to that original. In so saying, again, I do not mean that it is impossible to envis­age or speak of the originating impact of Jesus himself. Quite the contrary. What I mean is that from the first the original impact was itself diverse in character. What I mean is that the form of the tradition itself was from the first multiform. This also means that variation in tradition does not of itself either indicate contra­diction or denote editorial manipulation. Variation is simply the hallmark of oral tradition, how the Jesus tradition functioned.”

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