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Jesus, the Voice, and the Text
Beyond The Oral and the Written Gospels

Edited by Tom Thatcher

Jesus, the Voice, and the Text
Paperback, 310 pages $39.95
Published: 1st October 2008
ISBN: 9781932792607
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Biblical Studies, New Testament

Werner Kelber's The Oral and the Written Gospel (1983) introduced biblical scholars to interdisciplinary trends in the study of ancient media culture. The book is now widely recognized as a milestone and it has spurred wide-ranging scholarship. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of its publication, new developments in orality theory, literacy theory, and social approaches to memory call for a programmatic reappraisal of past research and future directions. This volume address these concerns. Kelber himself is interviewed at the beginning of the book and, in a closing essay, he reflects on the significance of the project and charts a course for the future.

Beyond Texts and Traditions:  Werner Kelber’s Media History of Christian Origins - Tom Thatcher

“It’s Not Easy to Take a Fresh Approach”:  Reflections on The Oral and Written Gospel (An Interview with Werner Kelber) - Werner Kelber and Tom Thatcher

Oral Performance and Mark:  Some Implications of The Oral and the Written Gospel, Twenty-Five Years Later- Richard A. Horsley

The Gospel of Mark as Oral Hermeneutic - Joanna Dewey

Storytelling in Oral and Written Media Contexts of the Ancient Mediterranean World - Holly E. Hearon

Vice Catalogues as Oral–Mnemonic Cues:  A Comparative Study of the Two Ways Tradition in the Didache and Parallels from the Perspective of Oral Tradition - Jonathan Draper

Human Memory and the Sayings of Jesus:  Contemporary Experimental Exercises in the Transmission of Jesus Traditions - April D. DeConick

The Gospel of Trajan - Arthur J. Dewey

The Scar of the Cross:  The Violence Ratio and the Earliest Christian Memories of Jesus - Chris Keith and Tom Thatcher

Manuscript Tradition as a Tertium Quid:  Orality and Memory in Scribal Practices - Alan Kirk

The Oral–Scribal–Memorial Arts of Communication in Early Christianity - Werner H. Kelber


Works Cited


For anyone looking for a concise introduction to media studies and Christian origins, or for those of us already engeaged in such studies, this volume provides helpful and accessible discussions of many of the significant issues.

—SCJ 12 (Fall, 2009)

The perspectives presented in this volume challenge some of the most deeply rooted assumptions that shape contemporary biblical studies, especially in the areas of text, form, and literary criticism. The payoff... is a more culturally sensitive and historically rooted appreciation of the origins and use of the biblical texts in the past, as well as the potential to reclaim them in new and creative ways for the present, free from literalistic verse-by-verse exegesis.

Biblical Theology Bulletin 40 (2010)

[Kelber's] comment that others have taken interprertative control of OWG leaves us in no doubt that his work has advanced understanding, evident in this fine collection.

Diana Woodcock, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 2010, 32.5

Jesus, the Voice, and the Text is enlightening and easily accessible to scholars of religion and the casual reader alike.

—Martin S. Jaffee, Samuel and Althea Stroum Professor of Jewish Studies, Comparative Religion, & International Studies, University of Washington

Werner Kelber is one of the most influential Biblical scholars of our time. His work on the media dynamics of early Christianity has given us a new paradigm of research and changed our approach to the Gospels and the Gospel tradition as well as other New Testament writings and areas of ancient communication. In this book some prominent scholars use his insights to discuss a vast range of issues related to the hermeneutics of speaking and writing, illustrating the immense influence of Kelber’s thinking. In addition, Kelber himself responds to challenges of his own research and indicates in an admirably upright way the development and great potentials of the new perspective that he has inaugurated.

—Samuel Byrskog, Professor of New Testament Studies, Lund University

Tom Thatcher (Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Professor of Biblical Studies, Cincinnati Christian University. He is the author and editor What We Have Heard From the Beginning: The Past, Present, and Future of Johannine Studies (2007), John, Jesus, and History (2007), and New Currents Through John: A Global Perspective (2006).

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 310 pages
 9in x 6in

  REL006400, REL006630, REL006710
 Baylor University Press

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