My review of “Lord or Legend“, part 5, by Gregory Boyd and Paul Eddy:
[R]ecent orality studies have suggested that oral traditions–particularly relatively recent, religiously oriented traditions–in orally dominate contexts tend to be quite resistant to change in terms of the essential components. As we will discuss in more detail in chapter 5, oral performers (or “tradents”)–those who regularly recite oral traditions for their communities–are allowed a certain amount of flexibility in how they recite traditional material. But if the oral performer alters anything of substance in the tradition, members of the community customarily interrupt and correct him or her. Hence, the suggestion that a fictional writing from an anonymous author could have overturned established oral traditions about Jesus in the early church must be judged as massively improbable. This is simply not how orally dominant cultures tend to operate.
Gary: I have a question. A very simple question: How can anyone know whether first century Jews followed the same rules of story telling as oral cultures do today?
Answer: Who knows. That was 2,000 years ago!
Christians often assume that because the Temple scribes were meticulous in maintaining the uniformity and accuracy of copying the Torah that a bunch of Galilean fishermen would do the same. Are you kidding me! That is like comparing the documentation habits of the librarians at the Smithsonian with the bookkeeping habits of a bunch of Louisiana shrimp fishermen. Come on!
In the Book of Acts and in Paul’s writings, is there any mention of Jewish Christians sitting around a campfire listening to a “tradent” retell stories about Jesus? If so, please leave that passage in the comments below. What we do find in these writings are stories about the early Jewish Christians reading “Scripture” (the Old Testament) when they met to worship.
And where were most Jewish Christians worshiping for the first few decades after Jesus’ death, at least according to the Book of Acts and the writings of Paul? Answer: in the Temple and in the synagogues. Are we to believe that the priests in the Temple and the rabbis in the synagogues allowed members of the Jesus sect to take up worship time retelling Jesus stories using “tradents”??
Evangelical Christians are so desperate to prop up the minority (fringe?) scholarly position that the Gospels are eyewitness accounts that they are willing to grasp at any wild theory to support it.
End of post.