Text as Tradition – Tradition as Text
Early Christian Memory and Jesus’ Threat against the Temple
From its inception, early Christianity exhibited a kind of textuality that differs in striking ways from modern, academic textuality. While the various skills comprising literacy (reading, writing, and so on) were rare and unevenly distributed in the early Roman imperial period, nevertheless the early Christians and other Jews lived in a world crowded with texts. Many of these texts existed in some relation to traditions that already enjoyed a history of performance and interpretation. These traditions, which predated their expression in written texts, perform critical functions in the composition, reception, and interpretation of "oral-derived texts", or texts with roots in an active oral tradition. This essay applies the work of John Miles Foley and, especially, Samuel Byrskog to explore how to read oral-derived texts within the context of their encompassing tradition and the history of that tradition's performance. The commemoration of Jesus' threat against the Jerusalem Temple in the years between Jesus' public life and the destruction of the temple provides an example of such a reading.
Copyright (c) 2023 Rafael Rodríguez
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